8/15/2017

Seven (or So) Calm Takeaways from Trump's Mad Tantrum in Trump Tower

1. If you are fighting to prevent a statue of Robert E. Lee from being taken down, you are, in fact, a white supremacist. Trump said today of Charlottesville that there were "very fine people...in that group that were there to protest the taking down, of to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name." No, you are not a very fine person. You support the Confederacy and slavery, which is what Robert E. Lee fought for. By definition, you are not "very fine." This is not difficult.

2. Trump said, "It looked like they had some rough, bad people, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call ‘em. But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest." If you march with neo-Nazis and chant racist things with white nationalists, it doesn't matter how legal your protest is. You are still a Nazi. You are still a white nationalist. And, legal march or not, you should be scorned. Not scorning them is supporting them.

3. Trump said, "Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. So this week, it’s Robert E. Lee, I noticed that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after. You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?" George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were slaveowners. They also helped create the United States which led to the freeing of the slaves. It's complicated, and, yes, we should have a discussion of their place in our understanding of history. Robert E. Lee was a slaveowner who, as I said above, fought so that a country of seceded states could keep slaves. The same goes for Stonewall Jackson. Lee and Jackson are not equal to Washington and Jefferson just like Donald Trump is not worth a hair on Abraham Lincoln's balls.

3a. Could we clone Lincoln from a hair on his balls? Just thinking out loud here.

4. In the same way, both sides of the Charlottesville conflict were not equal, despite Trump's insistence that they were. Yes, there was violence from the counterprotesters, but nothing like the violence from the "innocently" protesting racists, including, you know, murder. And, not to get redundant here, but one side was Nazis. The other side was against Nazis. To say "there is blame on both sides" is to say that Nazis are the same as not-Nazis. If you cannot say that not-Nazis are objectively better than Nazis, you have nothing useful to add to any conversation.

5. Trump said that Friday night's tiki-torch protest was done "very quietly." Many pictures from the event show white men and a few white women yelling or chanting. It is patently false to say it was quiet. And if they weren't chanting, they were making the Nazi salute, which is louder than just about any noise.

6. If I were John McCain, I'd be looking out for polonium in my tea. When a McCain comment was brought up, Trump gritted his teeth and said, "Senator McCain? Senator McCain. You mean the one that voted against Obamacare? Who is Senator McCain? You mean Senator McCain who voted against us getting good health care?" He sounded stabby. Also, if I were John McCain, I'd think nothing of using my last year or so on earth to destroy the dangerous man who mocked my imprisonment and torture.

6a. If anyone know who these supposed rational Republicans are, now would be a good time for them to reveal themselves. Hopefully, the denouncement are rolling in, or we're in deep, deep trouble.

7. Anyone who can watch that press conference and not think that we are being led by a deranged, out-of-control racist is someone who will never be convinced about Trump's unfitness for office. Which means we should be seeing a New York Times article about those people in the next day or so.

7a. Obviously, everything Trump said yesterday was a lie, but we already realised that.

7b. We knew we were in scary territory with Trump. We are now living the beginning of a dystopian TV series. It's up to us to make sure it's canceled before it gets renewed for another season.

8/14/2017

A Few Comments on Hating the Hateful

"They really, really hate them some 'niggers,'" my pal told me over the phone from Virginia. He lives in a small town, and he's just about had it with the Trump-loving, racist motherfuckers there who pretend to love Jesus when all they love is their hate. We were talking just before one of these doughy, deranged cumbuckets on the Confederate/Nazi right (fuck "alt") plowed his black Dodge Challenger into a crowd of anti-Confederate/Nazi protesters, killing one and injuring many others, in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.

My pal, bringing out his natural Southern accent for the occasion, told me about neighbors who "love them some Trump," about a woman who said how she doesn't know how she'll afford her medical bills if the ACA goes away but stands by her president, about how nothing really matters except abortion and homophobia. "These people'd live under a bridge," he said, "as long as them babies get born and two men ain't sucking each other's cocks."

And racism, he reminded me. Don't forget the racism, the lifeblood of the Trump-loving Confederacy-humpers.

President Donald Trump, who looks like a stack of traffic cones topped with baboon's ballsack, has been justifiably excoriated for his seeming refusal for two days to condemn the white nationalists responsible for the violence and murder in Charlottesville. His initial statement wasn't just milquetoast both-sides-ism. No, it was an implicit wink to the racist thugs who took it as such. His pissy statement today, where he finally called out "the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups," was presented with all the enthusiasm of a man in a bathroom stall asking for toilet paper.

But his delay empowered these assholes, this savage collection of bearded rednecks in torn rebel flag t-shirts, batshit militia dickheads toting assault weapons, golf-shirted and pampered little boys, and pathetic suit-wearing Nazi wannabes who Hitler would have laughed at as he had them executed for being too fucking dumb to know how to wrap a gas-covered cloth around a stick to make a torch. Most of them would have shit themselves and run for their mothers if they had been actual Nazis or actual Confederate soldiers, facing the American war machine that tore the hell out of both those armies of losers.

The most pathetic thing here is how shocked they pretend to be that their views are attacked, as if no one ever told them that slavery and genocide (not "white genocide," which is so dumb it barely deserves mention) are bad things to support. And maybe that's on all of us.

It's certainly on the media. Every time there was an article or CNN investigation on whether or not Barack Obama was born in the United States, the media made it seem like it was a legitimate story. Led by the nose by right-wing bullshit websites and commentators, the mainstream media gave the spittle-strewn glow of credence to it all, whether it's ACORN or the New Black Panther Party or the thuggish images of black victims of violence, like Trayvon Martin. And that's just recent shit.

Almost all the so-called liberal press places extremism on an equal plain with rational thought, so we'd get semi-sensible conservatives like Ana Navarro and hell hounds of insanity like Jeffrey Lord, both given equal airtime (until Lord finally went full Nazi last week). Van Jones should walk the fuck off the air if CNN makes him debate some reprehensible Breitbart shit-for-brains.

There are some things we need to agree on as a nation to move forward. The problem isn't that people think they're Nazis or neo-Confederates, per se; we're never eliminating stupidity. It's that we think there is something noble about tolerating Nazis; about trying to understand their ideology in an almost sympathetic way, about writing goddamned profiles about the new, sexy white nationalist movement, as if a fucking racist isn't just, in the end, a fucking racist, no matter how many times he wears an ill-fitting sports jacket.

And it is long, long past time to stop tolerating in any sense the idea that the Confederacy is a heritage worth honoring. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Fuck your ancestors who fought to maintain slavery. I don't give a dry rat turd how nobly they fought. They believed that human beings were property and could be beaten, raped, and killed. Fuck 'em. If you think there should be statues to them, then you're the asshole. If I found out my great-grandfather was a child molester, I sure as hell wouldn't want to honor him because he built a nice house. And I'd be appalled if anyone wanted to celebrate his architectural heritage.

Trump himself appealed to the lies of American history in both his sad little statements. In the first, on Saturday, Trump said, "We must love each other, respect each other, and cherish our history." Cherish our history? Motherfucker, our history is a goddamned horror show with occasional outbreaks of humanity, like the defeat of the Confederacy and the Nazis, like the welcoming of immigrants and the civil rights movement.

And then, today, he said, "We are a nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal." No, motherfucker, again, we were founded on the "truth" that white men are created equal for that's all they considered "men." It's like Trump is the president of the Confederacy, not the United States.

If we can't agree on our goddamned American history, if we can't agree that some ideas don't deserve a hearing beyond the half-human online scrawlings of some cretinous asshole with a frog avatar and a collection of concentration camp photos he jacks off to, then we're fucked. I want people to feel shame for believing these things. I want them driven out of the public square. I want them fired if they express it publicly, especially if they're cops or in positions of authority. You're free to say and believe what you want. And we're free to say your ideas are barbaric enough to tell you to change or get the fuck out of our society. This is about who we are as a nation.

You're allowed to hate Hate. You're allowed to be prejudiced against Prejudice. You're allowed to destroy the monuments to people who tried to destroy the country. You're allowed to say that support of genocide and enslavement isn't a position that deserves being heard in the modern United States. You're allowed to tell these tiki-torch-carrying vermin that they can kiss your American ass with their traitorous lips. We kicked them in the balls before and we'll do it again. Your Robert E. Lee statues are fucking done.

Go the fuck back underground. And take your shitty president with you.

(Note: For a good rundown on how Republican politics led us to this moment, check out Charlie Pierce, who wrote half of what I was gonna write today.)

(For the record, the only great-grandfather I know about was a leading rabbi in Poland and did not, as far as I know, molest anyone or build any houses.)

8/11/2017

Advice to the Young Folk Freaking Out About Possible Nuclear War

Hey, kids, it's your ol' pal Rude Pundit here, puffin' away on his corncob hashpipe and sittin' on his hay bale outside his survivalist bunker in a secret place where he'd have to kill you if you knew where it was. Some of you young 'uns weren't around during the great Cold War of a good chunk of the last century, so you don't know what it's like to wake up every day with a gut-churning feeling that the entire world is gonna be wiped out by huge fireballs and radiation sickness.

No, sir and ma'am, the 1980s wasn't all New Wave, Eddie Murphy, and shoulder pads. Why, back when the Soviet Union was the "evil empire," we all thought we were gonna die any second, but we learned to live with it. So I'm gonna give you some of my wisdom from those bad ol' days to help you weather this new round of shit-yourself apocalypse fear.

Gather 'round. Don't worry. I won't get all handsy.

1. Calm the fuck down. Yeah, yeah, I know that that our dumb-as-a-stump, pussy-grabbin' president keeps huffin' and puffin' about the United States being ready to blow North Korea's shit up, and I know that North Korea is led by an inbred half-wit who claps like a slow little boy when he sees things go "boom," but that doesn't mean either of them is idjit enough to nuke the other. You're still gonna die because of climate change or heart disease, but that'll take a little longer.

2. Most of what you're hearing is public relations bullshit. Trump has a bunch of brain-damaged yahoos who thrill to his fake John Wayne act. Kim Jong Un needs his poor, starving people to think that everyone else wants to kill them and only Kim can protect them. (So, really, they're not so different.) But behind the scenes, there are constant negotiations and dialogues with people actually skilled at this sort of thing trying to figure shit out. This was true during the Soviet/U.S. standoff, and it's true now.

3. Even if fighting breaks out, it'll be conventional, not nuclear. We've got a shit-ton of hardware and soldiers in the Pacific, with bases on Guam, Japan, and elsewhere. North Korea doesn't want to be turned into glowing parking lot (although many people there would probably welcome the sweet kiss of death). So we might get bomb-y, but not nuke-y.

4. Even if North Korea launches a nuke, it'll wipe out just one place, likely Guam, but maybe Los Angeles. During the Cold War, we were facing thousands of nuclear weapons, not just a smattering. So we'll mostly be fine. Mostly. Unless you're in Guam. Or Los Angeles.

5. No, no, calm the fuck down. If North Korea does launch a nuclear attack, the U.S. would surely attack in a way that completely takes out North Korea's leadership, and the one thing Kim loves more than missiles going "boom" is staying in power so he can hang out with Dennis Rodman. Dennis Rodman won't go to a radioactive North Korea (probably). So Kim wants to keep control of his people. You can't do that if the people have been turned to ash.

6. There will continue to be bluster. There will continue to be idiots talking about the "good" of a preemptive attack on a nation that has done very little to piss us off. We had that back in the day, too. Donald Trump will continue to tweet and say stupid, threatening shit that most of the world has learned to ignore.

7. That's because of all the generals Trump's surrounded himself with, who speak with more authority than Trump. In they absolute worst case scenario, they would certainly be a check on his worst impulses. Maybe. Perhaps. So, if all else fails, hey, we can always hope for a military coup. That'll surely settle everything down. Oh. Wait.

Well, kids, that's about it for ol' Rude Pundit trying to give you hope. I'm gonna go into my bunker now and wait this out. We've got enough weed and whiskey to last us a few months. That's my suggestion: get high, get laid, listen to music, ignore shit for a while, turn off the Twitter and the TV, and go outside while you still can. But don't freak out. It's pretty useless.

8/10/2017

We're Just Letting Louisiana Drown (Updated)

A year ago, Louisiana was hit with one of the worst flooding events in U.S. history, even worse than Hurricane Katrina. In some places, more than two feet of rain fell over the course of three days. I was there when the rains hit and saw some of the impassable roads and drowned homes, and I wasn't even in Baton Rouge, where the worst of it hit the most poverty-stricken areas. It caused $10.3 billion in damage, and it displaced tens of thousands of people. Yet, as a new report from Climate Central says, because we were in the midst of the Olympics and the stupid, awful presidential election, the disaster received precious little coverage relative to the magnitude of the devastation.


That is most especially clear in the money that has been spent on recovery. For the August flood and for a March 2016 flood in north Louisiana that resulted in $2.3 billion in damage, the federal government has only provided $1.7 billion in aid. It works out to 12-13 cents for every dollar in damage. Obviously, Washington can't make up for all losses, but after Sandy and Katrina, that number was 65-70 cents per dollar. So, in many, many ways, this has been a forgotten disaster.


The August 2016 floods in Louisiana are a direct result of conditions that exist due to climate change, as two groups of scientists said. One study that included scientists from NOAA said that "greenhouse gas pollution made the extraordinary volume of rain that fell Aug. 12 to Aug. 14 twice as likely, compared with a century earlier." Many of the areas that were flooded are outside of places that are marked as "flood zones" by the state and federal governments. That's how extraordinary these storms were.


This past weekend, New Orleans was hit with a storm that dumped up to 9 inches of rain over the course of a few hours. It's another flood you barely heard about over the burps of Trump's Twitter account. All of a sudden, the water pumps, still being upgraded post-Katrina, that were supposed to handle a half-inch of rain an hour were overwhelmed, and a few stopped running due to power outages. The floods remained through Saturday night and into Sunday morning. It was what the National Weather Service called a "50-100 year event." When the upgrades on the pumps and drainage system are complete in 2020, the system is supposed to be able to handle a once-in-a-decade event.

Louisiana is going to drown. Coastal erosion is so bad due to rising seas that Governor John Bel Edwards has asked President Trump to declare it a national emergency to get more funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to try to slow it down. We know how that will go.

The state is going under, as in literally underwater, like Florida, like coastal areas all around the U.S. And we have likely reached the point, due to neglect, ignorance, and greed, where there isn't a damn thing left we can do about it. One of the great ironies here is that even if you could get pumps and drainage to a point where they got rid of the floods in New Orleans quickly, that would dry out the soil and, as one official put it, "it basically collapses," which makes flooding more likely. The earth is done.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration is not only doing nothing to stem the effects of climate change, it's not even enforcing the laws that target polluters.

Back after Katrina in 2005, residents of the destroyed Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans heard rumors that Donald Trump was going to buy up the land there for cheap to build a casino or hotel. They were ready to protest and block it. But that never happened. And now, it's probably too bad because maybe then the president would give a damn.

Update: Not only were the pumps broken, but now a turbine that provides power to many of the pumps has burned out.  And officials in charge of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans lied to the public. Those people have been fired or forced to resign. Until we get this right, it's only a matter of time before the next major flood and the next.

8/09/2017

While We're All Freaking Out About North Korea, Trump Also Shit All Over Opioid Addicts (Updated)

So yesterday, President Donald Trump, a human-shaped Home Depot bag stuffed with fertilizer and asbestos, declared that North Korea would face "fire, fury, and...power the likes of which the world has never seen before." And that's fucked up right there. It's sort of like a chimp pissing off a snake. The chimp is gonna win the fight, but it might get the shit bitten out of it.

One thing that's been lost here is that Trump made his typically insane and hyperbolic threat at the end of a statement about the topic he was sitting down to discuss in a side room of the clubhouse of his New Jersey golf resort. That was a meeting with Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price and his political operatives (yes, Jared was there) to get an update on the crisis of opioid addiction and overdose deaths that is fucking up a lot of communities across the nation.

The briefing was either a response to a Fox "news" story (no, really) or to the report that was put out by the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, led by New Jersey Governor and man most likely to punch someone while holding nachos Chris Christie. Trump had called for the commission to come up with a battle plan to fight the widespread, you know, crisis, as it says in the name there. He even received praise from families of overdose victims for seeming to actually give a shit about it.

Christie's commission's interim report to Trump very specifically and, let's be fair here, strongly talked about the extent of the problem and recommended forceful action: "The first and most urgent recommendation of this Commission is direct and completely within your control. Declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act. With approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks."

Then the report states quite clearly the effect of such an action: "Your declaration would empower your cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding and empowering the Executive Branch even further to deal with this loss of life. It would also awaken every American to this simple fact: if this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will."

And it puts this squarely on Trump's shoulders, even appealing to his fragile ego: "You, Mr. President, are the only person who can bring this type of intensity to the emergency and we believe you have the will to do so and to do so immediately." Christie was confident that Trump would accept the recommendations of the commission because

How did Trump respond? Did he rise to the moment and declare a national health emergency, allowing addicts to get treatment more easily under Medicaid? Did he declare he would no longer pursue cuts in funding for addiction treatment? Of course, he didn't. As usual, he did the most dickish thing he could. He blamed the addicts: "The best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place. If they don’t start, they won't have a problem. If they do start, it's awfully tough to get off. So we can keep them from going on, and maybe by talking to youth and telling them, 'No good; really bad for you' in every way. But if they don’t start, it will never be a problem."

You got that? Just say, "No," kids. If you get fentanyl to help with your pain from surgery to fix a work-related injury, you need to tell yourself, "No good; really bad for you" as if you didn't know that in the first fucking place. And notice that Trump didn't say a fucking thing about the addicts themselves. Oh, he talked about increasing sentences for drug offenders and once again about his goddamn border enforcement. But he didn't say, and Price later confirmed, that he would declare an emergency. Because health emergencies aren't sexy and don't get good ratings.

By the way, the commission's report didn't mention the border wall at all. So apparently, the members didn't see that as a solution to the problem.

Meanwhile, abuse and deaths are affecting every corner of the country. A record number of overdoses are occurring, with rising numbers nearly everywhere, from Virginia to Oregon. In Indiana, schools have started carrying anti-overdose drugs. And New Hampshire, which Trump called a "drug-infested den," is joining a lawsuit with other states and localities against the maker of OxyContin. The Trump administration has, more or less, punted the whole problem to the states and is pretending that it's doing something when, really, it's failing on this as it's failed on so many other things.

Yeah, Trump's bullshit bluster against North Korea is frightening. But in the same remarks, he shit all over Christie, the commission, and the millions of Americans affected by the opioid crisis. And that's gonna hurt more people than any bullshit dick-measuring between two bloated megalomaniacs.

Update: So Trump did finally declare a national emergency. We shall see if he actually does anything besides say those words.

8/07/2017

Your Stupid Fight About Who's a Better Democrat Is Stupid

If my house is ever on fire, I won't give a shit who comes to put it out. I won't ask them who they voted for, I won't ask them where they're from, I won't ask a goddamned thing except that they put the fire out. In fact, while my house is burning, I don't even care if lack of fire safety on the part of the fire department is what caused the fire. I just want the fire out. I wanna make sure everyone in the other apartments get out okay. I want the animals to be safe. I don't want the fire to jump to other buildings on this block. And I wanna try to save some of my shit. I won't stop each firefighter and say, "Whoa, whoa, did you fill up the fire truck with BP gas today? No, you don't get to break down the door and rescue that baby."

And when the fucking fire is out, hopefully there's enough there to rebuild. That's when I'm gonna wanna know: what the hell went wrong? Did the building inspectors fuck up? Can we come up with better ways to fight fires? And do we need to recruit a better group of fire fighters? That's when we should make it better.

The feeling I get when I see the Twitter wars and meme battles on Facebook and Instagram and comment threads of the damned in too many other places is that Democrats across the board just need to shut the fuck up already and fight the fire. For the world is burning before our eyes. One by one, the very things that made the nation a relatively stable liberal democracy (I said, "relatively") are being burned like fields of diseased corn. Donald Trump and Republican majorities in the Congress and in state legislatures around the country are successfully reconfiguring the way the nation functions, right down to the right to vote. If someone is going to put themselves out there to successfully challenge the arsonists, then I'm gonna support them, whether they're a corporate teat-sucker who wants to get back to the pre-Trump status quo or a socialist maniac ready to reconfigure the social contract to make it tilt to the poor and disempowered.

It's not that I'm not taking a side there. It's that I don't think we have the luxury of being able to take sides in that fight right now. People are hurting and are going to be hurt more and more, and a family that is being torn apart by Trump's immigration policies doesn't much care if Kamala Harris is too cozy with Wall Street. Bernie Bros vs. HillBots is a bourgeois luxury that is meaningless to someone who gets cancer because of Trump's environmental deregulation.

As far as the 2016 election goes, I've been pretty clear: We don't know how Bernie Sanders, who I supported in the primaries, would have done against Trump because he never had the full force of the Republican machine focused on him. And Hillary Clinton should have done many things differently, like gone after Trump's business record and created more ads about issues. But, in the general election, the media was complicit in making Clinton seem like she was dirty. Mostly, though, too many of us underestimated how easily racism and hatred and ignorance could be exploited across the country. The "lesson" of the 2016 election is to own the goddamn narrative. The tricky part is how to do that.

And even though whenever I say that I think the fight among Democrats is bullshit, it's automatically assumed that I'm just shitting on the socialist/Bernie side of the Democratic Party. But I'm not. I'm actually way more aligned with the socialists in my beliefs than I am with the more mainstream Democrats. I want the most progressive elements of the party to take over and win elections. Yet I'm not on their side in this internecine conflict. I'm just on the side of whatever the fuck gets us out of this Trump clusterfuck of disastrous policies, destruction of the mechanisms of government, and degradation of the presidency. I don't care if it's the Russia investigation, the emoluments clause, the 25th Amendment, the "Deep State," or the 2018 midterms.

When Barack Obama was running, I was all-in on supporting him, fully aware that he was a moderate-liberal who had ties to Wall Street. But the nation couldn't take another Republican presidency, so I gladly let the Obama campaign go balls deep in my face and I swallowed happily. However, after the election, I thought that the time to push the party further left had arrived, and, if you take the time to read (I've been doing this shit for nearly 14 years), I was mightily critical of Obama and his hawkishness and approach to the health care debate and of the Democrats in Congress who needed to be challenged from the left. And I've been critical of corporate funding of candidates for years before Citizens United.

Right now, I'm mostly giving a shit about 2018. I'm not thinking about 2020; that's what primary fights are for and let's save that until after 2018. I'm giving a shit about governors' races and state races. I'm giving a shit about the House of Representatives. I want people to run who are going to stop the hemorrhaging. And, yeah, there are a few fucking non-negotiable things they need to support, like the right to choose on abortion, support for the ACA (with single payer down the road), climate change, and sane, compassionate immigration reform. I wanna get kickass candidates like Randy Bryce in Wisconsin and Amy McGrath in Kentucky.

And if you wanna wallow around, whining that the DNC was mean to your candidate or that leftist dudes are douches, well, it's your time to waste. Meanwhile, Republicans are closing in on being able to call a constitutional convention and let ALEC rewrite the thing.

In 2010, a whole fuckload of people who voted in 2008 didn't show up. If you don't show up in 2018, then whatever you believe is as worthless as the monetary value of your angry tweets.

Let's save the country first. We're in a political crisis that is about a year or so from becoming a civil rights crisis and, possibly, a violent crisis, if Trump is indicted. And if he's not, then we're gonna be in an economic crisis or just fucked by the climate relatively soon. Saving the country might mean you gotta suck it up, sunshine, and vote for a "corporatist" or a Democratic Socialist. Whatever your purity is, save it. I'm not playing this dumbass game right now. I've got fires to extinguish.

Once we do get the reins of at least some of the government back, we can have our pissing match.

(Note 1: If your response of "We'll never save the country if we don't totally agree with my side," hey, good luck. And you might wanna respond "Aren't you just telling everyone to agree with you?" Well, I don't think anyone disagrees with "Put out the raging fire in any way you can.")

(Note 2: Your variations on the burning house metaphor are adorable. Pat yourself on the back if you're thinking, "Well, the fire was started by Bernie voters" or "The DNC is the arsonist, man." And keep it the fuck to yourself.)

8/03/2017

How Racist Can the White House Get? (Answer: Very)

The last couple of days have been banner ones for racists of just about every stripe, from backwoods yahoo country fucks to ostensibly educated white nationalist shit crumbs, from pandering politicians to true believers. Let's just run it down:

1. The Department of Justice is exploring whether the federal government should be "suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants." It's as if they believe that diversity on college campuses is a bad thing, probably because it makes people more sympathetic to people of other races. And how can you have a race war if that happens?

2. President Donald Trump announced his support for the RAISE Act, which is an anodyne acronym masking a shitty policy. It looks to cut in half the number of legal immigrants coming into the country, and it emphasizes skilled workers who can speak English. Oh, and only spouses and children can come over with immigrants.

When nutzoid hate-filled jizz goblin Stephen Miller, a senior policy advisor and winner of "Man Who Most Looks Like a Star Trek Alien" was asked about the racist implications of the proposal, he went into an outrage froth that coated the gathered reporters in a glistening film of saliva. It reached a spittle-flecked climax when Miller attacked CNN's Jim Acosta for daring to suggest that one purpose of the bill might be to bring in more white people, saying that "it reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree." Fuck's sake, "cosmopolitan" means you give a shit about the world. The opposite of "cosmopolitan" is, more or less, "xenophobic." Or it's just an anti-Semitic dog whistle (which is extra weird since Miller is Jewish). Either way, between that and a bizarro attack on the meaning of the Statue of Liberty, it was a fucking train wreck of an appearance.

3. The Washington Post printed transcripts of Trump's late January phone calls with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. While they are masterpieces of fuckery, dickishness, and doltishness, it's also worth pointing out how fucking openly racist Trump is willing to go when talking about refugees.

When Turnbull presses Trump on honoring a deal on at least vetting refugees to possibly take them into the United States, Trump goes twitchy with paranoia. He knocks Cubans: "You remember the Mariel boat lift, where Castro let everyone out of prison and Jimmy Carter accepted them with open arms. These were brutal people." Yeah, see only 2% of the 125,000 Cubans who came here in 1980 were deemed criminals who needed to be deported. The rest fucking made Miami what it is today. (Oddly, Miller brought up the Mariel boat lift in his remarks yesterday. These Trumpers are consistent in their assholery.)

Then, after Turnbull insists that the U.S. live up to its obligations, something Trump is well-known not to give a flying rat fuck about, the president says of the refugees who have been living in horrific conditions on islands off Australia, "I hate taking these people. I guarantee you they are bad. That is why they are in prison right now. They are not going to be wonderful people who go on to work for the local milk people...maybe you should let them out of prison." Who knows where all these milk jobs are, but Trump equates "refugee camp" with "prison," which would probably shock a lot of the little children who are there.

This shit is so blatant it'd make a robed KKK member say, "Whoa, a little obvious there, fella."

Look, we know Trump is racist. We knew it for years, from the Central Park Five to birtherism to the Muslim travel ban. It has been one of his most consistent traits. And we know that Trump has surrounded himself with racists, with people who are directly connected to white nationalist groups. And we know that Trump's supporters are racist (yeah, you are, fuck off).

And now we're seeing the policy implications of that. Trump used to ask various non-white groups, "What the hell do you have to lose?" in electing him. It's pretty clear that the answer is "a future."

8/02/2017

Another Day, Another Trump Interview Full of Sadness, Desperation, Evil, and Hyperbole

It's from last week, but Politico has published the full transcript of President Donald Trump's interview with the Wall Street Journal (motto: "We really want Trump to give us a reacharound"). You might know it as "That time the president talked smack about his attorney general." But, as usual, it's filled with a Willy-Loman-esque mixture of the pathetic, the mad, and the hyperbolic.

For instance, told that the response to his Boy Scouts Jamboree "speech" (if by "speech," you mean, "An uninspiring ramble through tales of liquor and sex and political horseshit") was "mixed," Trump short-circuited: "I’d be the first to admit mixed. I’m a guy that will tell you mixed. There was no mix there. That was a standing ovation from the time I walked out to the time I left, and for five minutes after I had already gone. There was no mix." At that point, if you're from the Journal, you might be tempted to tell him to shut the fuck up and stop repeating the word "mix."

But with Trump, if you're gonna describe something, you tell everyone it's the best, the top, or, in this case, "I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful." Motherfucker, in 1969, Neil Armstrong sent a message from fuckin' space. In 1973, fuckin' Bob Hope and Danny Thomas spoke at the Jamboree. In 1989, Steven fuckin' Spielberg talked to the scouts. And you can bet he didn't bring up his rich friends who lost money or his election win. Oh, and Trump never got the call from the Boy Scouts. So either he's lying or some staff member called him up and pretended to be from the BSA to soothe Trump's fragile ego bone.

Speaking of, it is as true as mathematical rule that, if he's talking for more than 2 minutes, Trump will brag about his election victory. Asked about whether or not it will be tough to work with Democrats in Congress on things like infrastructure, Trump said (and this is quoted extensively because it's goddamned madness), "Well, they tried – they tried it with me. She spent hundreds of millions of dollars on negative ads. She didn’t do a positive ad, virtually. And she lost easily, you know, 306 to 223 I think, right – 223, something like that. That’s a lot. And she – they tried it. I mean, honestly, they – the ads were coming at me. Hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of negative ads. And when people went into the voter booth, they didn’t know what she stood for." "She" is Hillary Clinton. And, no, Trump never answered the question because he's too fucking dumb to understand it.

Look at his child-like wonder at the population of other countries: "You know, a lot of people say – they say, well, but the United States is large. And then you call places like Malaysia, Indonesia, and you say, you know, how many people do you have? And it’s pretty amazing how many people they have." I mean, seriously, it's like having Lennie from Of Mice and Men as president. Soon, he'll be crushing bunny heads and saying how "We'll live off the fat of the land!"

But then there's the truly fucked-up stuff, like Trump's solution to unemployment in a region: "I’m going to start explaining to people when you have an area that just isn’t working – like upper New York state, where people are getting very badly hurt – and then you’ll have another area 500 miles away where you can’t – you can’t get people." He is not, as you can see, proposing that these unemployed, broke Americans get any help with moving 500 miles away.

So, to help, he is telling people to just not pay their mortgages anymore. No, really: "You know, a lot of them don’t leave because of their house. Because they say, gee, my house, I thought it was worth 70,000 (dollars) and now it’s worth nothing. It’s OK. Go, cut your losses, right?" He's telling people that they can just walk away from their houses, likely underwater at this point, and they'll be okay. Except, of course, their credit will be destroyed, they won't have a place to live, and the job is probably gonna pay shit wages because 500 miles away is non-union territory. Fuck, does he expect Russian mobsters and oligarchs to bail out everyone like they saved his worthless ass?

(And, by the way, why isn't this remark getting more attention? Banks would be fucked again if thousands more people defaulted on their mortgages. It's dangerously reckless talk.)

In the course of the rest of the interview, Trump shits on Jeff Sessions, who, to be fair, probably normally pays people to do that, says the demonstrably wrong "I make good deals. I don’t make bad deals. I make good deals," claims he has nothing to do with Russia, and really, really wants Hillary Clinton investigated: "[W]e should really look at real crimes, because real crimes are what Hillary did with 33,000 emails, where she deleted them and bleached them after getting a subpoena. Real crimes are what’s happening and what happened with the uranium deal."

It probably doesn't even need to be mentioned that Trump quotes Fox "news" as his source of information multiple times throughout the interview.

The only thing saving us right now is that he's just a dumb lump of shit, incapable of seeing past his own shitty self, surrounded by other lumps of shit who, fortunately, are mostly concerned with trying to get themselves gilded in gold.

P.S. And the fucker cheats at golf and called the White House "a real dump."

7/31/2017

Trump Did Shake That Disabled Kid's Hand But Was a Dick in Every Other Way

You gotta watch yourself these days. When I first saw the footage of Donald Trump seeming to ignore the proffered hand of little Monty Weer, in a wheelchair because he suffers from spina bifida, I was ready to jump. It seemed perfectly in character for Trump to simply not to have wanted to turn his gaze downward to see the 3-year-old reaching up. It seemed exactly like the actions of the germophobic asshole who desires nothing more than to take health insurance away from millions of Americans. It turns out that prior to the piece of video that had gone viral, Trump had not only shaken Monty's hand, he leaned down and talked to him. Actually, it was a kind of sweet moment. Even persimmon-shaded goblins can be kind every once in a while.

And I'm not gonna say that I "had a feeling" the edited video wasn't true or any such shit. I just thought, "Christ, I can't keep up. Let this one go" and held back from tweeting or committing an act of bloggery.

Many people didn't, and they leapt before they looked, including author JK Rowling, who has been inspirationally acerbic in her attacks on Trump. After mass browbeating and outrage and a screaming Piers Morgan banshee attacking her, Rowling has apologized.

But let's not give Trump a happy handy just because he was nice to a boy in a wheelchair. Because, see, that boy and his family were in the White House last week to be props in his attack on the Affordable Care Act. The Weers and others were presented as "Obamacare's victims," and they were supposed to sway Americans into turning against a law that has objectively saved lives.

In fact, you could say that the primary reason that Monty Weer was even there, as in "alive," was because of the Affordable Care Act. His story is, of course, more complicated than the way that Trump made it seem. Obamacare didn't enter Monty's room like the Babadook to torment him. What the Affordable Care Act did do are a few things that even his mother admitted are immensely helpful. Marjorie Weer knows that the ACA's ban on insurance policies having lifetime benefit caps and discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions has worked to keep Monty alive and taken care of.

What frustrates her is that only one insurer is currently available in her state and that she has had to switch insurance or look for new doctors for Monty and the rest of her family. "The doctors that we were able to see this year, I don’t know if I’m going to see them next year. And our monthly premiums have increased by 23 percent," she said in an interview yesterday. And that is a situation that has to compound the difficulty in taking care of Monty. But rather than blame, as she does, "congressmen and women who have no business, probably, messing with the health care system" (for, indeed, if Democrats hadn't "messed with" it, Monty would not even have insurance), perhaps she should turn some of her ire to those who have screwed up the Affordable Care Act.

The Weers live in South Carolina, which not only didn't set up state exchanges, it has refused to expand Medicaid. In fact, the vast majority of counties with one or even no insurers are in states that have been as dickish as South Carolina. Two other states, Alaska and Arizona, accepted the Medicaid expansion, but didn't set up state exchanges. Only Iowa did both and still faces an uncertain market. So, yeah, there's a fuckin' pattern.

The design of the Affordable Care Act was dependent on states actually giving two fucks about their residents, but if you're trapped in a GOP-controlled pro-death-and-disease state, you have to deal with this bullshit. And if you give any support to President Trump, then you agree with his attempts to undermine insurance companies by threatening to withhold cost-sharing reduction payments. Essentially, that means "not paying your bills" (and it ain't a "bailout," as Trump likes to lie and say), which has helped drive insurers away from less profitable markets.

But let's be completely honest here. There might only be one insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield, in South Carolina, but it's offering 24 different plans at different price ranges. It's not one plan or nothing.

And let's be even honester: Single payer would eliminate all of these issues.

Marjorie Weer and her family deserve all our sympathy and support, even if they're confused about how the ACA works. They deserve better than to be made into caricatures that our criminal dope of a president can point to and demand cruel retribution. And whether they realize it fully or not, the Affordable Care Act allowed Monty to be there, to greet the criminal dope, to have a video go viral.

Yeah, lots of liberals got it wrong about the handshake. But we got it right that Trump really doesn't give a damn if Monty Weer lives or dies.

7/28/2017

Observations on a Late-Night Rescue Mission

1. Let's appreciate people in the proper order here for last night's stake in the heart of Trumpcare, the current effort at repealing the Affordable Care Act (and, like a movie monster, it will be back, no doubt, for another goddamn sequel):

a. Voters from across the nation inundated legislators with calls and messages and face-to-face confrontations. Some of the most effective opposition came from disabled Americans who blocked hallways and demanded to be heard by their senators. They were stark and real physical reminders of what's at stake if the Affordable Care Act was repealed. People in wheelchairs and on ventilators were abused and arrested, but they bravely persisted.

b. Democrats held together in a way that I have rarely seen. While you can attribute that to solid leadership, you can also say it was helped by the support of their constituents (and the fact that GOP efforts polled at less than 20% support). The strongest outcome from this politically is that finally, at long last, Democrats have decided to own Obamacare fully. Sure, sure, Chuck Schumer spoke of the need to improve it (perhaps putting on too much of a show of eating shit). But Democrats have staked their electoral futures on the turn in public opinion in favor of the ACA, and that just might reveal a path to the real improvement: single payer.

c. Early on, I predicted that Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski (and, perhaps, John McCain) had the potential to turn independent and maybe caucus with the Democrats. While that didn't happen, these two senators, from far flung states, stood firm against every effort to cut Medicaid, undermine the insurance exchanges, and get rid of policies that protected the most vulnerable in people in Maine and Alaska. Both of them withstood insane pressure and even wishes for violence against them from the savage members of their party in the House. Hell, Murkowski even had her state directly threatened by the Secretary of the Interior. In the end, they told their party's leadership, including the idiot president, to go fuck themselves. That was gutsy and even honorable, something you can rarely say about Republicans.

d. And, finally, John McCain did something vaguely mavericky in voting against the skinny repeal. That's great, but remember that he only did it because his sense of Senate protocol was too offended by the process. If he was against the repeal in general (or even the process), he could have stopped it on Monday by voting against the motion to proceed to debate. And he opposed this bill because it didn't do enough to get rid of the ACA. This is not to mention that he's weak and sick and needs to get back to Arizona for treatment but wanted to get to the next bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, before leaving. Bombs before chemo. But, fine, let's give him some props for a few minutes. Besides, there's also a good chance McCain did this as a solid "Go fuck yourself" to Donald Trump for shitting on McCain's military service during the campaign.

2. What comes next is up in the air. Trump is probably going to demand that Congress not pay insurance companies the cost-sharing reductions subsidies they are supposed to get under the ACA. McConnell already started calling those promised payments "bailing out" insurers, which is like telling your credit card company that your monthly payment to them is "charity." Schumer thinks everyone might just get along for a bit. But the mad, mad House of Representatives is already wanting to tee up another repeal because otherwise they'd have to govern.

3. Except for a few true believers, like the skeevy cat fucker Rand Paul or the sleazy cat strangler Ted Cruz, you know that most Republicans were thinking, "Oh, thank fucking god" last night. If the repeal had passed, the millions kicked off insurance and the skyrocketing premiums and the closure of Planned Parenthood clinics and the cut in the budget to the CDC (yeah, that was in there) and the end of the employer mandate, all the fuckery contained in a simple eight pages, would have been theirs. It's a helluva lot easier to bitch about something than to have to fix it.

3a. Democrats had better be ready to take down Jeff Flake and Dean Heller, both "yes" votes in states that aren't solidly Republican, in 2018.

4. Mitch McConnell's very real anguish was delicious.

7/26/2017

How Much Degradation Can We Stand?: The Most Embarrassing Things Trump Said in Three Speeches

President Donald Trump, a man who wouldn't know honor if it bit his ass and screamed, "I'm honor," gave a speech to the annual Boy Scout Jamboree. During it, he unzipped his fly and pulled out his little dick, stretched it until it was near ripping and said, "Check out that dick, boys. Not bad. Not bad, if I say so myself. And you know I do." When he wasn't shaking his dick at the children, he was making jokes like he was starring in Hell's version of Catch a Rising Star, riffing and then stepping away from the microphone and swinging his Yeti-like arms for emphasis. It was like watching a brain-damaged ape trying to imitate Rodney Dangerfield.

The next night, last night, Trump had another one of his Nuremberg Rallies (yeah, I'm comparing him to Hitler - Do we have to wait until he's gassing people to do that?), this time in Ohio. An asshole in defeat, he is a throbbing, distended sphincter in victory. So he dropped his pants in front of the gathered 6000 people and said, "I'm gonna make Democrats and Jeff Sessions and Lisa Murkowski kiss my fat ass!"

Well, not really. But it was two days of utter degradation, an embarrassing display put on by our goddamned president. You've heard some of the shitty things he said, but, believe me (as he would say), there was line after line of shame and shamelessness and dickishness and brazen fuckery. For instance,

At the Boy Scout Jamboree:

- "I am thrilled to be here. Thrilled. And if you think that was an easy trip, you’re wrong." Trump is acting like he personally hiked through the mountains of West Virginia to get to the event when he was brought there on a golden throne. Probably there was no golf cart go from the holding area to the stage. But he wants the kids to be grateful he made the effort.

- "By the way, what do you think the chances are that this incredible, massive crowd, record-setting is going to be shown on television tonight? One percent or zero?" Trump is obsessed with setting records. He could just become a professional hot dog eater and call up Guinness, but, no, he's gotta fuck with all of us.

- "I saw him at a cocktail party, and it was very sad because the hottest people in New York were at this party." In the midst of a rambling tale about William Leavitt, Trump dropped in that he went to a cocktail party with the "hottest people." Because of course he did. Because why would he waste his time with less than the hottest? Because what the fuck else would you tell a bunch of children and teenagers eager to race wooden block cars? A story about camping? He'd've had to have fucking camped to do that.

- "Do you remember that incredible night with the maps and the Republicans are red and the Democrats are blue, and that map was so red, it was unbelievable, and they didn't know what to say?" He told the Scouts about his election victory. Because of course he did. He also shit on Hillary Clinton. Because of course he did.

- "By the way, under the Trump administration, you’ll be saying, Merry Christmas again when you go shopping. Believe me. Merry Christmas. They've been downplaying that little, beautiful phrase. You're going to be saying, merry Christmas again, folks." It's fucking July. It's. Fucking. July. Anyone saying, "Merry Christmas" now is a fucking loser.

And then at his speech "Saluting American Heroes" in Ohio:

- "It's great to be back in Youngstown. It was an incredible time we had. And you know the numbers, and you saw for many, many years Democrats -- and they're really great -- but Democrats, they win in Youngstown. But not this time." Election victory. Because of course.

And then at his rally in Youngstown later:

- "Boy, he's a young one. He's going back home to mommy. Oh, is he in trouble. He's in trouble. He's in trouble. And I'll bet his mommy voted for us, right?" This was a reaction to a protester, bullying him and deriding him for doing what Trump did for years on Twitter when Obama was president.

- "We're gonna have it so that Americans can once again speak the magnificent words of Alexander Hamilton, 'Here the people govern.'" This was weirdly sandwiched between his proclamation that he was going to bring back factory jobs and his assertion that only the "late, great" Lincoln was more presidential than him. As usual, Trump gets history wrong. Hamilton was talking about Congress, especially that Congress was a check on the power of the presidency. In other words, "Here, sir, the people govern: Here they act by their immediate representatives" is a direct rebuke to Trump's desire to run roughshod over Congress.

- "So they'll take a young, beautiful girl, 16, 15, and others and they slice them and dice them with a knife because they want them to go through excruciating pain before they die. And these are the animals that we've been protecting for so long." This was shortly after Trump praised police brutality towards people arrested as gang members. It's fearmongering in its purest, most sinister form, a kind of propaganda that will get people worked up.

- "We will buy American and will hire, finally, American." Trump's own businesses are seeking visas to hire foreign workers. So, you know, fuck that lie.

At each of these occasions, the crowds, even most of the Scouts, cheered and chanted wildly.

This vertiginous ride we're on has gotten sickening. Trump has degraded the language, the laws, the nation, and us, all of us. How far into the dirt will he drag us before we finally either give up or fight back?

7/25/2017

Fuck You, John McCain

(Note: I took this down for a couple of days because I said I would if John McCain voted down the worthless skinny repeal. He did and I did and now I'm putting it back up because there are many reasons to say, "Fuck you" to McCain. Not the least of those reasons is that he gave the Nero-like thumbs down to the skinny repeal in part because it wasn't cruel enough in taking health care away from millions. So, yeah, a few things are wrong, but the feelings are right.)

I know there are people who are more responsible than Arizona Senator John McCain for the passage of the motion to proceed to dismantle health care coverage for millions of Americans and give a big ass tax cut to the wealthiest in the country. I know that there is still a long, long way to go before any actual legislation that does all that passes, although it really just seems like a fait accompli at this point. And I know, I know, Christ, fuck, I know that in some cosmic sense it's wrong to attack someone who has an aggressive form of brain cancer and just had a blood clot removed from behind his eyeball, that such suffering ought to be given respect. But fuck all that.

Fuck you, John McCain, you petulant, pissant son of a bitch. Fuck you, fuck your legacy, fuck your pain, fuck your recovery, fuck your family, and fuck, fuck, fuck you. And I feel free to say that because, with his vote today to allow debate on some bullshit new health care plan, he said, "Fuck you" to hundreds of thousands of his state's constituents who will lose Medicaid coverage or be priced out of insurance or be pushed into some worthless policy.

The saddest response to McCain's announcement yesterday that he was returning early to Washington to vote on the motion-to-proceed was the hope that the mythical maverick McCain would show up and, likely having no more elections to run, would do the right thing by voting "No." That McCain never existed, and, except for issues like torture, he has been as loyal a Republican as any flea on the hairs on Mitch McConnell's waxy balls. Of course he was coming back to dick people over. It's what he does. He's a motherfucker, like every other Republican motherfucker. Motherfuckers fuck mothers. How many times do I have to say this? They fuck mothers. It's right there in the word. If they get a chance to fuck a mother, they will fuck that mother because they are motherfuckers. And the repeal of the Affordable Care Act is like a sticky blood orgy of motherfuckery. By the time the process is over, Republicans will fuck every hole and carve some new ones to fuck.

Not only did McCain vote, but then he saw fit to stand there and give a sanctimonious goddamned speech decrying how the Senate has become "more partisan, more tribal." He called for a return to some kind of era of comity, and he blamed both parties for what he sees as a breakdown in "regular order" in the Senate and the ability to work together. And all over the media, people acted like fuckin' Lancelot had just come riding in to save the day when it was really just a filthy one-eyed poodle with a chip on its shoulder and ankles to bite.

Let's contextualize: "Regular order" was stabbed to death by Republicans during the Obama presidency when the Senate GOP decided that every bill would be filibustered when they were in the minority and any idea of the President's would be blocked when they got the majority. John McCain barely squeaked a single fart of protest out from between his saggy ass cheeks. In fact, again, except for torture (sometimes), he went along every single fucked up time that Republicans threw themselves in the way of legislation passed by the House. And then he blew shit up like a common terrorist when Republicans got the Senate back. "Regular order," motherfucker? Suck a pig dick.

Shit, in his little vomit of a speech today, he smirked when he criticized Democrats for not engaging Republicans on the Affordable Care Act: "The Obama administration and congressional Democrats shouldn’t have forced through Congress without any opposition support a social and economic change as massive as Obamacare." Bitch, there were ten months of hearings and 160 Republican amendments got into the bill. So make a dildo out of your complaint about regular order and shove it up your worn out sphincter.

And let's contextualize further: What McCain voted for today was a phantom bill. It was a sham to get something out there so that the amendment process could start on the House bill. It was as far from regular order as having monkeys fuck on the floor of the Senate, although that's a fair analogy for what actually occurred.

The final fucking insult from McCain today was that he once again pretended like he might be a maverick. He said, "Why don’t we try the old way of legislating in the Senate, the way our rules and customs encourage us to act. If this process ends in failure, which seem likely, then let’s return to regular order." If you think that McCain will do anything noble, if you think he will put country over party or compassion over ideology, then you have no idea who John McCain really is: a shitty human being who tricked everyone into thinking he was better than that, a false idol, and a sad, miserable fool who deserves to be pissed on by everyone he passes. He had a chance to be a hero to the vast majority of Americans today, but he didn't care. Not even after receiving the government-paid health care he has gotten his entire life. And he gives a win to Donald Trump, who mocked McCain being a POW during the Vietnam War.

Fuck him.

Besides, he gave us Sarah Palin, whose stupidity, vapidity, and cruelty arguably paved over the gravel road and made the ride easier for Donald Trump.

So fuck him forever.

7/24/2017

Another Big Republican Lie on the ACA: They Can Give You Something Better

We know that Republicans have lied nonstop about the Affordable Care Act ever since it was passed into law by a Democratic-led Congress and signed by the Negro President. We know that Republicans are stuck because Obamacare is mostly based on Massachusetts's Romneycare and both come from plans from the conservative Heritage Foundation. We know that Republicans lied and continue to lie about the effects of the AHCA and then the BCRA, the House and Senate versions of their "repeal and replace" bills. But there is one more thing, one more set of lies, that is responsible for sticking a shiv into the GOP's dream of murdering a bunch of poor people so rich people can be richer.

See, Republicans keep trying to put the blame for the fix they're in on American voters. "We have to keep our promises to the American people," Republicans say. "We won the last three elections by promising to repeal and replace Obamacare," they whine like a dog that caught a cat only to realize it was a fucking mountain lion. Yeah, they're right. Voters did put Republicans in power over the promise of getting rid of the Obamacare horror and torture or whatever drama queen word you wanna use. But, and this is important, they only wanted to get rid of it because Republicans said they'd do better. Or, to put it another way, they lied about what they could do for people if the Affordable Care Act was overturned.

Senator after senator told you how you were enslaved by Obamacare and that the GOP would set you free. John McCain proclaimed, "Families in Arizona and across the country should have the power to make their own medical decisions – not Washington bureaucrats. This bill puts patients and doctors back in charge of their health care by fully repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a free-market approach that strengthens the quality and accessibility of care." John Thune promised, "It’s time to repeal this law and replace it with something that works. And that’s precisely what we’re going to do."

Others got even more explicit. For instance, here's Wyoming Senator John Barrasso (campaign slogan: "If you can't trust a man whose name includes the phrase 'bare ass,' who can you trust?"), from a speech he gave on the floor of the Senate in November, shortly after the election: "First of all, nobody is talking about taking people off of insurance without a replacement plan in place." Except that's exactly what they talked about. While Republicans will constantly mention how President Obama said, "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor" (which, to be fair, was an absurd promise), they simply aren't owning that they got voters all excited about this new fantasy health care plan where they wouldn't lose coverage despite repealing the very law that gave them coverage.

In fact, when you get to what President Donald Trump said, Republicans were promising something amazing. Put aside that Trump repeatedly said he wouldn't cut Medicaid and then, immediately after inauguration, put out a plan to cut Medicaid. Trump and his people consistently promised that Americans would have better health insurance coverage, that all Americans would be covered, and that it would cost them less in premiums and deductibles. He literally said this: "You will end up with great health care for a fraction of the price." And he told Americans that we would have a "beautiful picture" in the future of health care.

Republicans like to say that Democrats promise that they'll give people "free stuff" and that people on government programs like Medicaid are "moochers." But Republicans didn't win on the Obamacare issue because people didn't want free stuff. They didn't win because they said they would take away their health insurance. They won because they promised people more free stuff and better free stuff.

In other words, they lied. But voters believed them. They wanted to mooch more.

And the vast majority of Americans realize now that it was a lie because the Trumpcare plan that the Senate may vote to move forward tomorrow does none of the things they promised other than get rid of the health insurance they have now or make it worse and more expensive. So, of course, now we get articles like "These Americans Hated the Health Law. Until the Idea of Repeal Sank In." In that New York Times piece, Pennsylvania dumb shits who once thought Obamacare was the worst thing since the theory of evolution say things like "I can’t even remember why I opposed it" and "Everybody needs some sort of health insurance." One stupid fuck went from opposing the law to "Now that you’ve insured an additional 20 million people, you can’t just take the insurance away from these people. It’s just not the right thing to do."

But we knew all along that people liked the Affordable Care Act. They liked the elimination of spending caps and of pre-existing conditions determining premiums. They liked keeping their kids on insurance until age 26. And a shit-ton of people got to live because of the Medicaid expansion. Yeah, the ACA was fine. What they hated was Obamacare, which is exactly what Republicans wanted people to think of for a very simple reason:

Most Republican voters don't hate the ACA. They hate that their white asses were saved by a black man.

They resented the shit out of that fact. It put a lie to all the racism they've clung to for generations. The GOP used that racism for years. Now that the black man is gone, though, they're totally fine with the law and its benefits. They gave Republicans a chance to give them more stuff, but they don't want their stuff taken away. Especially when that "stuff" is the right to live a healthy life.

Be careful this week, dear dumb shits and dearer smart asses. Republicans are going to keep coming after the Affordable Care Act, no matter how many shivs you stick in it. Stay on the phones. Keep the pressure up on the few Republican senators who can make the difference. Don't let the liars win. It's life and death, motherfuckers, life and death.

And once we finally put this beast down, let's turn our attention to single payer.

(Fun extra part of Barrasso's speech: "Democrats promised that they would listen to other people’s ideas, and then they went behind a closed door in an office back there, and they wrote the law ignoring all of the suggestions by Republicans, and without any Republican support at all. We’re not going to make that same mistake. We will be looking for Democrats’ help, we will be looking for Democrats to work with. We will be listening to Democrats’ ideas, and we will be working very hard to win Democrat votes for any new law." Insert your own rolling-with-laughter emoji here.)

7/20/2017

Bonfire of the Inanities: Observations on Trump's Interview With the New York Times

At this point, any new batshit thing that President Donald Trump says comes across less as a shock and more like another punch to the face in a boxing match. If you're an experienced fighter, you know exactly how it's gonna feel when that glove pounds your chin, but, goddamnit, it still hurts and, goddamnit, you want it to stop. So this latest New York Times "interview" (if by "interview," you mean, "a lunatic scrawling in shit on his rubber room walls") with Trump is the usual serving of blithering, dithering, and withering, all tossed into a word salad that sounds like it might be English but is a colloquial bowl of chopped ideas that we could call "Trumpese."

The usual things that crop up any time Trump speaks were in full effect here:

1. Self-fellatio - Trump praises himself endlessly for doing the most, having the most, being the most, even if it's a goddamned lie. Here he is on his speech in Poland: "Enemies of mine in the media, enemies of mine are saying it was the greatest speech ever made on foreign soil by a president...You saw the reviews I got on that speech." Or on the rollback of Obama-era regulations: " I’ve given the farmers back their farms. I’ve given the builders back their land to build houses and to build other things." Can you imagine the hategasm that would splooge all over the airwaves if President Obama had said, "I gave people health insurance"? We'd be cleaning up that goo for years. But Trump's voters love that he acts like he's the king. They want a king. They want to be ruled. They want discipline. Shit, basically, he's their Dom and they're his loyal Subs, except the rest of us have been dragged into it without a safe word or, you know, consent.

2. Shitting on others - Yeah, Trump just sprayed scat all over Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department in general. In addition to questioning the motives of Robert Mueller (as well as threatening to fire him) and bizarrely saying that Sessions shouldn't have taken the job if he was going to recuse himself from Russia matters (remember: Sessions tried not to do so until it was revealed he lied under oath about his meetings), Trump says of his firing of James Comey, "I think I did a great thing for the American people." The American people just want someone who'll do the goddamn job. It's mighty strange, by the way, to say that you did nothing wrong but wanting the investigation shut down.

2a. Shitting on Hillary Clinton - Because of course he did.

3. Cornered rat babbling - Asked about the conversation with Vladimir Putin that wasn't reported until well after the G20 summit, Trump was like a tween caught with weed in his dresser. He wove an elaborate tale about how the chat came to be, setting the scene at the dinner all the leaders attended, who was seated where, who was talking to whom, who else might have been there, the fucking opera they watched. Then Trump said what he and Putin discussed: "Actually, it was very interesting, we talked about adoption." The fuck? (I wish Maggie Haberman had said that instead of "You did?") Trump continued, "We talked about Russian adoption. Yeah. I always found that interesting. Because, you know, he ended that years ago. And I actually talked about Russian adoption with him, which is interesting because it was a part of the conversation that Don [Jr.] had in that meeting." That means they talked about the lifting of the sanctions in the Magnitsky Act, which is pretty fucking important. But a cornered rat will do that. Amid the lies and distractions, they will squeak out some truth.

4. Paranoid ranting - Everyone is out to get Trump, according to Trump. The news media, of course, but, more significantly, Barack Obama creeps into his head and he can't help but go nutzoid insulting his beloved White House predecessor. "Don’t forget, Crimea was given away during Obama. Not during Trump," he said, speaking of himself in the third person, which is so disconcerting. He then went incoherent until he got back to Obama: "In fact, I was on one of the shows, I said they’re exactly right, they didn’t have it as it exactly. But he was — this — Crimea was gone during the Obama administration, and he gave, he allowed it to get away. You know, he can talk tough all he wants, in the meantime he talked tough to North Korea. And he didn’t actually. He didn’t talk tough to North Korea. You know, we have a big problem with North Korea. Big. Big, big." Jesus, calm down there, big fella. "You look at all of the things, you look at the line in the sand. The red line in the sand in Syria. He didn’t do the shot. I did the shot. Had he done that shot, he wouldn’t have had — had he done something dramatic, because if you remember, they had a tremendous gas attack after he made that statement. Much bigger than the one they had with me." Ah, finally he can let Obama win one: Syria gassed more people under Obama than under Trump. Such a humble man, our president.

5. Just weird shit - Every interview with Trump is guaranteed to have some bizarre notes, those moments when Trump sounds like a Hollywood producer in the 1970s. You could go with his description of the Bastille Day parade in Paris ("You know what else that was nice? It was limited. You know, it was two hours, and the parade ended. It didn’t go a whole day") or even when he jumped subjects like a weasel on meth ("The Russians have great fighters in the cold. They use the cold to their advantage. I mean, they’ve won five wars where the armies that went against them froze to death. It’s pretty amazing. So, we’re having a good time. The economy is doing great.") But I'm gonna go with the saga of French President Macron and his love of holding Trump's hand: "He’s a great guy. Smart. Strong. Loves holding my hand...People don’t realize he loves holding my hand. And that’s good, as far as that goes...I think he is going to be a terrific president of France. But he does love holding my hand." Every night, Macron touches the hand that held Trump's, and a single tear runs slowly down his face as he remembers those soft, small fingers interlaced with his.

Keep in mind that these were easy questions because the reporters know that if you ask Trump something about policy, like "Can you explain a single fucking thing about how the ACA exchanges work?" or if you challenge him, like "Why did you lie about Medicaid cuts?" he'll just shut down like an overstimulated toddler. Even on the softball questions, he got basic facts wrong and he didn't know when to shut the fuck up. Sure, Trump ought to be interviewed like anyone would Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or, fuck, Mitt Romney, but we all know that he's fucking stupid so get the stupid people to talk about the one thing they feel comfortable with: themselves.

It's not shocking anymore. And we need to be careful about that. The thing about a boxing match is that the fighters can never let it get boring and rote. It might be exhausting or excruciating. But you gotta stay in the moments or you'll find yourself flat on your ass, without health care, with your country at war, with your voting rights gone, and with your environment collapsing.

7/17/2017

Trump Voters Were Wrong, So Fuck Their Opinions

In just six short months, it's become absolutely clear: Everyone who didn't vote for Donald Trump was right and everyone who voted for him was wrong. Yeah, yeah, they weren't wrong in that Trump won the election, just as someone isn't wrong for supporting a shitty baseball team. But it's incredibly clear now that the poor suckers and greedy fuckers who wanted to nuzzle up to Trump's man-teats for a suckle were wrong on just about every account regarding who he is and what he'd do.

They were wrong that he's a man of his word, they were wrong that he would look out for working people, they were wrong that he would make the nation respected "again" (as if it wasn't before), they were wrong that he wouldn't have scandals, and they were just wrong about him being a human being worthy of the office. They were wrong and we who voted against him (and I'm tossing anyone who voted for Hillary Clinton, Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, and Deez Nutz into the category of "voted against him") were right.

Trump voters fucked the goat, and so everything they say should be framed within the fact that they are goatfuckers. "Oh, you have an opinion on health care? Sorry, you fucked a goat. I don't give a shit about your goat-fucking opinion," we should think. But that's not what we do. We don't shun the goatfuckers, no matter how savagely they fucked that goat. We see that most clearly by the fact that the news networks and other media outlets still entertain the opinions of people who supported the Iraq war and never said they were wrong about it. Goatfuckers get away with it.

So we're treated on an almost daily basis to articles and stories about Trump voters and what they think about some issue and whether or not Trump's evil, batshit incompetence is enough for them to bail on the Orange King. Every single one of these stories is the same: Here are some assholes who voted for Trump. Let's treat them with reverence, as if they have hard-won wisdom because they shovel shit or work at Wal-Mart. Let's tell them about all the fuckery that Donald Trump has been up to and see what they think. Oh, look, they don't give a shit because he still hates the Mooslems and Messicans. And what might change their minds about Trumpochet? "I don’t know what he would have to do...I guess maybe kill someone. Just in cold blood."

That's an actual quote from an actual person in a Tennesseean article on Wayne County, Tennessee, an almost entirely white rural area with less people than my neighborhood. The thrust of the piece is that Trump voters couldn't give a happy monkey fuck about the Russia scandal. In fact, they think Trump is being maligned and Don, Jr. is awesome. This is the newest wrinkle in the genre: What do stupid people think about something they don't understand at all? In the last week, Vox has done a story on Michigan Trump voters, who don't think the Russian connections are any big deal. The BBC sent a reporter to the Nebraska State Fair to get some American color (yes, ironic, I know) and some video of deluded shitheels sharing their delusions.

As Newsweek's Alexander Nazaryn wrote, "The real story here is how thoroughly Trump supporters have been deceived, both by Trump and tireless boot-lickers like Hannity and Jones. Every quote from an Ohioan who declares the Russia investigation is irrelevant is a testament to the delusive brand of Republicanism that now reigns supreme." Joshua Green said much the same in the New York Times.

Each of the Trump voter pieces generally has a token interview with someone who doesn't support Trump. But they are presented as curiosities, the two-headed cow that shouldn't exist but somehow does. But the reality is, obviously, people who think Trump is full of shit vastly outnumber the aforementioned suckers and fuckers who stand by their man. How about interviewing some of us? How about asking us, "How did you know?" And we can say, "Anyone with a fuckin' brain knew." Ask us, "What do you think about the Russia dealie?" And we can say, "Either we do something about it or we're fucked."

Hell, you don't even have to stick to the cities, where the majority of the country lives. Since you've got a rural jones, you can head to Bolivar, Tennessee, a town in the ass-crack of nowhere, near to the Alabama border, as Deep South as you can get. They went for Hillary Clinton, as did nearby Whiteville. Of course, those are majority African American towns, so you'd have to change the whole goddamned narrative away from the mighty white working class.

Or, here's an idea, why not go to the communities that went for Trump and find the people who didn't. Talk to them. See if they're feeling smug or sad or angry. See what their ideas are for getting us out of this or through this goddamn bullshit time. Find out how they're feeling about Trump's relationship with Russia. Ask them because they, like the majority of the country, were right.

Let's spend a little time and energy, dear, sweet reporters, on people who aren't barking mad or madly barking.

(Note: If you didn't vote at all, go suck a donkey's dick.)

(Note: If you wanna write to me about "goatfucker shaming," I hate you already. Same for "donkey-dick sucker shaming." Some things are just fucking shameful. Sucking a donkey's dick, fucking a goat, and voting for Donald Trump, for examples.)

7/13/2017

Republicans Really Want You to Die Faster

In case you were wondering just how cruel and crazy Republicans can be, here's a little example:

Rep. Steve King, who looks like the kind of ghoul who eats the spleens of children and then makes a coat of their skins, was asked on CNN about funding for the bullshit wall with Mexico (that's now supposedly going to be covered in solar panels and transparent, which is a contradiction, but, fuck, that's our president). The Iowa Republican had a savage answer: "I’d throw another $5 billion on the pile, and I would find a half of a billion dollars of that right out of Planned Parenthood’s budget, and the rest of it could come out of food stamps and the entitlements that are being spread out for people that haven’t worked in three generations."

That's right. King wants to take money away from health care for women and food out of the mouths of families to fulfill a complete fucking lie. All those people losing food stamps will be fine because "we will create the kind the security that would bring about 10 million new jobs in America just by enforcing immigration law." That's as much of a fantasy as unicorns and trickle-down economics.

And if you're thinking, "Wow, this is fucked up. That dude is fucked up. But I need some genuine awful stupidity to complete the rage I need to put my fist through my computer screen." Oh, dear, dear reader, of course there is some stupid here.

See, Steve King, who looks like he keeps donkey fucking photos on his phone to show his colleagues and laugh at their reactions, says that because food stamps "solved" the hunger crisis in this country, it has led to greater rates of obesity. Not the high fructose corn syrup from, you know, Iowa, or the fact that shitty food is cheaper than healthy food. No, the government has been too generous and made people fat. "We built a program to solve the problem of malnutrition in America," King blathered, "and now we have a problem of obesity."

And if you're thinking, "Yeah, that's so fucking dumb it's a wonder that Steve King can breathe and walk at the same time. But I need this to somehow be tied to the Obamas for it to tip me into a murder spree that I shouldn't be held accountable for." Oh, dear, psychopathic reader, you don't know Steve King, whose voice has the flat tone you hear above you when you wake up in a basement pit.

For, indeed, he did tie the issue to the former First Lady in saying that his cuts to food stamps won't be so bad: "I wouldn’t impose anything more strict on anybody in America than what Michelle Obama did with her school lunch program."

And there it is, the pinnacle of Republicanism, an example that serves to demonstrate everything wrong with the bugfuck insane and tragically, willfully, proudly ignorant conservatives. Michelle Obama wanted to help with growing rates of childhood obesity by getting kids to eat healthier and exercise and for schools to offer better choices than Pepsi and lard. So, obviously, its real goal was to starve Americans while food stamps made them fatter. Or something. Logic doesn't matter. Facts don't matter. Humane behavior doesn't matter. Nothing matters except that government is evil and the Obamas are the evillest.

Why spend so much time on someone who ought to be busy convincing people to buy time shares while yelling at his grandkids about the "coloreds"? Because King's brand of dumb cruelty is the same as the driving force behind the revised Republican health care bill in the Senate, which manages to be crueler and dumber than the House version. The putrid Ted Cruz's putrid amendment would stick a meat hook into the Affordable Care Act's insurance guarantees and rip them open until their guts are steaming on the ground while Cruz yowls as he jacks off into the gore. The Medicaid cuts are essentially Mitch McConnell saying, "Fuck you" to the so-called moderate senators, daring them to defy him, the party, and Trump, in that order, daring them to stare into his dead amphibian eyes and have their souls sucked away.

Republicans are saying, in word and action, that they hold their constituents in contempt. The voters are disposable. In fact, they are saying, let's help them along, whether by starving them or taking away their health care. And then let's make them thank us because, we can say, we kept our promises.

Goddamnit, they will, too.