10/20/2017

Oh, Just Fuck Off, John Kelly

Let's get one thing straight right off the bat: No matter where the fighting is and no matter the cause, most soldiers will act bravely, sometimes even heroically, to support their fellow soldiers. In every bullshit war, there are men and women who fight, get wounded, and die, and their sacrifice should be honored and respected. They went to war because the leaders we elected made them go there.

But let's also get another thing straight: We have not fought a war that wasn't bullshit since World War II. And every death and every wound has been for nothing (beyond the soldiers protecting each other.) Korea was bullshit. Vietnam was bullshit. The Persian Gulf was bullshit. Iraq was bullshit. Afghanistan is bullshit. They are all built on lies. Sometimes we allow ourselves to believe they weren't lies. But each and every one was based on lies to advance some policy or ideology that no Americans should have had to die for.

Which gets us to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired Marine general. Yesterday, Kelly appeared at the White House press briefing to set the record straight or some fucking thing about President Trump's callous phone call to the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, killed in Niger earlier in this month.

In doing so, Kelly took his career and any respectability he had, which he had already handed over to Trump when he agreed to work for him in the first place, and he allowed Trump to fuck it in the ass while he cheered Trump on.

You can read about the many ways in which Kelly lied about Congresswoman Frederica Wilson. You can get confused at Kelly's statement that Wilson "listened in" on a conversation that was on a fucking speakerphone in the car she was riding in and therefore she had no fucking choice but to listen in. You can roll your eyes at Kelly calling Donald Trump "brave" for reaching out to the family of a fallen soldier, as if Donald Trump has ever done anything braver than eat one too many Big Macs in a single sitting. You can even shake your head at Kelly's beyond ignorant invocation of the past when "Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor."

But I'm saying, "Oh, just fuck off" to John Kelly for a couple of reasons.

First, he should fuck off for talking about how Gold Star families (those who lost someone in battle) are no longer sacred because "I think that left in the convention over the summer." He is probably invoking the Khan family, who criticized Trump at the Democratic Convention, and not Patricia Smith, who lost her son in the Benghazi attack and called Hillary a murderer, more or less, at the Republican Convention.

And Kelly should fuck off because in the rest of his fucked-up appearance he completely politicized Gold Star families - who, it should be noted, often politicize themselves in honor of their lost loved ones. He ignored that the president didn't treat those families as sacred when he attacked the Khans. That didn't fucking crop up in his obsequious fluffing of Trump. As if to make his point clear about who he values, Kelly took a couple of questions but only from reporters who are in Gold Star families or are related to them.

Then he pretty much said that you're an asshole if you don't serve in the military: "We don't look down upon those of you who that haven't served. In fact, in a way we're a little bit sorry because you'll have never have experienced the wonderful joy you get in your heart when you do the kinds of things our service men and women do -- not for any other reason than they love this country. So just think of that."

To which one can only say, "Fuck off. There are so many ways to serve your country and your community that don't involve the military and how fucking dare you diminish those."

Even more, John Kelly can fuck off because of what I started with here. Kelly said he was so upset that Rep. Wilson said mean things about Donald Trump (by, you know, quoting Donald Trump) that he had to take a walk. So, as one does, he went to Arlington National Cemetery, and "I went over there for an hour-and-a-half, walked among the stones, some of whom I put there because they were doing what I told them to do when they were killed."

What were they doing under his orders? Fighting in a bullshit war in Iraq, where Kelly had various commands, up to being in charge of the whole damn show in 2008. Yeah, Kelly led men to die for nothing. And so many in the military know that they were it was a war for nothing. Oh, he could have retired, but he didn't. Which means he believed in the bullshit war and sent soldiers to die for bullshit. I'm pretty fucking sure they didn't sign up for that.

But let's go even further here because, you know, if you're gonna tell someone to "Fuck off," you may as well go all the way. One of Kelly's sons died in combat. He usually doesn't talk about it because it's horrific and personal and why should he. But Trump dragged the corpse of Kelly's son into this shitpool. And Kelly brought him up yesterday. Kelly's son died in Afghanistan in 2010 in a war that should never have been started and was fucked up from the start by President Bush and it wasn't even unfucked by President Obama. Like every other soldier in this war, he died for nothing because he shouldn't have been there in the first place. Kelly's younger son is now on his fifth tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Yeah, John Kelly walked out in front of the world yesterday to announce that he is just another piss whore in Trump's bed, and he'll willingly degrade himself and his family in order to stay there.

(Note: I support the troops so much that I don't want them to have to fight because some politician needs to prove that a think-tank's position on democracy or terrorism is correct. I want them to defend us and defend our allies. And, yes, I have family in the military. I don't want them to die for bullshit.)

10/18/2017

What Sgt. La David Johnson Didn't Sign Up For

It's practically a saying from the old country: If you elect a raging sociopath with a dead soul, don't be surprised when he acts like a raging sociopath with a dead soul.

So, frankly, what would have been shocking is if President Donald Trump had expressed remorse, sorrow, and sympathy to the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, killed on a mission in Niger along with three of his fellow soldiers. Did anyone think that he wouldn't screw it up?

Of course, every time you think that Trump has cleared some incompetence bar, he sets it lower and still manages to flatten his gelatinous body to squeeze under it.

Talking to Myeshia Johnson while she was in a car with Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson on her way to the airport to greet the casket holding her husband and the father of her two children and one on the way, Trump referred to Sgt. Johnson only as "your guy." This is according to Wilson and Johnson's mother, who heard the call on speakerphone. And Trump's words of comfort were "He knew what he was signing up for, but I guess it hurts anyway."

The first part of that sentence has gotten the most attention, but, really, the second part is just as callous and malignantly narcissistic. "I guess it hurts anyway" makes it seem like Trump thought the death shouldn't have hurt as badly because Johnson had joined the military. Even more, it's that he doesn't comprehend what the pain of loss is like because it's not about him.

Let us pause here to recognize that the deaths of four soldiers in Niger on October 4 weren't acknowledged by Trump until Tuesday. The "fake news" had reported on it shortly after the ambush that also wounded two others. And Johnson's body was found two days after the assault by Nigeriens, not by the U.S. Special Forces there. American soldiers are in the African nation to train the local military on dealing with al-Qaeda, although history has shown that the mission creep from this kind of activity often plunges more troops into danger (see Vietnam, El Salvador, and on and on).

Let us also recognize that had this attack and these KIAs had occurred when Barack Obama was President and Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, it would have been a scandal that would have stoked impeachment talk, if not criminal charged. The silence from the administration and the president would have been an indicator to Republicans of some massive cover-up, perhaps even the willingness of the administration to allow soldiers to die.

It would be a shame if, say, not only did the American forces lack enough medical support in Niger, but that "the military’s Africa Command asked lawmakers broadly for more help months before the attack in Niger, a West African nation nearly twice the size of Texas." Oh, right, they did. On March 9, 2017. To the Senate Armed Services Committee.

General Thomas D. Waldhauser, the head of the U.S. Africa Command, testified, "[Our] African partners lack the capability and capacity to assist with personnel recovery missions. Integrating personnel recovery and surgical stabilization/medical sustainment capabilities are a moral obligation and essential for the proper care of U.S. service members who risk their lives to protect our nation."

Committee Chair Sen. John McCain pledged at that hearing, "We owe our witnesses, and the men and women they lead, unambiguous national security priorities, clarity in our strategic thinking, and an unwavering commitment to provide them the resources required to support the necessary courses of action."

Except just under seven months later, those resources weren't there in a way that might have been able to help the soldiers killed in Niger. There are reasonable discussions to be made about distribution of forces and the use of resources. But had this been Obama and Clinton, we would be hearing how incompetent they are and how they abandoned our troops.

Certainly, we should now at least be saying that Republicans and Trump were warned and did nothing about it (just as they did nothing when Clinton asked for more funding to shore up defenses at embassies and consulates overseas).

So when Trump told Myeshia Johnson that her husband "knew what he signed up for," well, that's bullshit. What he signed up for didn't involve the nation not putting out the resources needed to make any medical attention quickly available. What he signed up for didn't involve being left to rot for a couple of days because of inadequate ability to search for his corpse.

What he didn't sign up for was that his family would be treated like their grief should be muted because his Commander-in-Chief cannot handle human feelings and doesn't understand that his incompetence contributed to their pain.

10/17/2017

What Did That Dumb Orange Motherfucker Say Now? (Part 874)

In the shitstorm of lies that President Donald Trump fertilized the Rose Garden with yesterday, there was one that should have bugged the living fuck out of the jerk-off Republicans who have to pretend they even can stand being in the same room as him. No, it wasn't his declaration that Bill Clinton's FEMA director gave Trump's administration an "A+" on hurricane relief (Trump said, "And that includes Puerto Rico," which Witt took to Twitter to directly contradict). It wasn't his assertion that President Obama and other presidents didn't call the families of soldiers who died in battle (get to that in a sec).

No, it was when Trump asserted, "Don't forget it took years for the Reagan administration to get taxes done."

Surely, a number of Republicans' heads snapped at that. Surely, more than one thought, "Motherfucker, Reagan's first tax cut was signed and done on August 13, 1981." By the magic of math, that's far less than "years," and less than the amount of time Trump has been in office. It cut taxes by 25% and was the beginning of Reagan's bullshit trickle-down economics, a theory that fails every time, no matter how long you take to pass the bullshit bill. That aside, Trump not only lied, but he also benefited massively from that tax cut. You could argue that had Reagan not slashed taxes for the wealthy, we wouldn't have even fucking heard of this tangerine turd.

Every day is a new level of Hell as we sink into the seven-layer dip of cruelty, nonsense, and misery that spews out of Trump and his White House of Horrors. You know what the big news was this time 8 years ago? That the bank bailout was working so well that Wall Street executives were already being greedy fucks about their bonuses. That the deficit was going up. That President Obama and the Democrats were trying to get health care to millions of people. Spin that around in your head. No insults, no lies, no attacks by Obama against John McCain for losing the election. You forget what it was like to not have to add "What the fuck is our dumb motherfucker of a president saying today that might kill us all?" on top of the shitpile of dealing with your regular life. Like, goddamn, can't we have one fucking day when Trump's not ruining everything for us?

In today's Rose Garden scat play with the poor president of Greece, Trump spun off so many lies and exaggerations in a short period of time that it was mindboggling. From his constant misrepresentation of what the cost-sharing reduction in the Affordable Care Act is to his insistence that Democrats are the only reason that he hasn't had more nominees approved and not his failure to nominate more people quickly to his completely false claim that his vaguely defined plan has "the largest tax cuts in the history of our country," Trump may as well have said, "And I am twenty feet tall with a ten-foot long dick. Believe me."

And as soon as Trump asserted, regarding contact with the families of fallen soldiers, that "if you look at President Obama and other Presidents, most of them didn't make calls, a lot of them didn't make calls," he knew he had fucked up. His tell is that he goes into a kind of self-echolalia, where he gets stuck on a word and repeats it like on a loop. Right after making that accusation, Trump continued, "So, generally, I would say that I like to call. I'm going to be calling them. I want a little time to pass. I'm going to be calling them." Fuck, somebody hit him so he stops skipping.

When pressed on that later, a wise man might have apologized and admitted the mistake. A kind man might have said he didn't mean to malign every president ever. A decent man might have talked more about the soldiers and their families. But this is Donald Trump, and he is a motherfucker, and when a motherfucker is called out on fucking mothers, he just goes right on fucking them: "President Obama I think probably did sometimes, and maybe sometimes he didn't. I don't know. That's what I was told."

Then he sent Sarah Huckabee Sanders out to say that President Obama didn't call every family, as if that's what Trump said. And, to make it even more pathetic, the White House told NBC News that Obama didn't call General John Kelly when Kelly's son was killed in combat in 2010. And? It's like reality has to be bent in order to make sure Trump is never at fault.

Yeah, he's never to blame. Not for a goddamn thing. In a weird-ass cabinet meeting earlier yesterday, Trump insisted that Congress has failed, not him. No, fucking never him. "I’m not going to blame myself, I’ll be honest," he said.

As if anyone would ever think he was man enough to do so.

10/16/2017

Trump and the ACA: The Slumlord-in-Chief

It's an old story when it comes to urban real estate. The owner of a building with a bunch of rent-stabilized apartments wants to jack up the cost of the places to meet what has become an exploding market or he wants them gone so he can wreck the place because the real estate parcel is that valuable. But if an elderly couple who has lived there for decades doesn't want to move out or if a family couldn't find anything nearby that was close to the low rent they get to pay by law, what's a landlord to do? It's not a perfect place to live; still, it's where a lot of people are comfortable and happy.

Now, you can start hitting them with harassing lawsuits and threats to evict them for minor or outright made-up lease violations. But if that doesn't work? Then you gotta raise your game. You refuse to make repairs so that leaks and other things get out of control unless the tenants repair them. Hey, you didn't cause that mold to grow up the walls. You do construction in a way that causes noise and dust and shaking walls and floors. You don't do anything to get rid of any bugs or vermin. If you get really desperate, you can open up part of the building to the homeless, allowing them to stay there for free.

You're not kicking them out. You're just making it miserable for them to be there so that they want to get out. You're doing it for the sake of hurting them, and you don't care what happens, even if it costs you money to do it.

We don't really have to imagine the above scenario because that's exactly what Donald Trump did when he was a slumlord in the 1980s at the 100 Central Park South building he had just bought in 1981. Yeah, he wanted to tear it down to build another big, dumb tower, but the place was full with tenants who were quite happy to pay far below-market for their homes. And Trump knew the apartments were occupied, but he wanted them gone. So he made life hell for them.

Trump's approach to the Affordable Care Act is essentially the same thing. He tried to just get rid of it, but the repeal effort failed, so now he's dropping a family of rats into it. His executive order of last week that sets up the cross-state junk insurance plans, called "association plans," and his refusal to pay the cost-sharing reduction money to insurance companies to help keep costs down for low-income Americans are designed to saw a hole in the walls and force everyone there to live with the dust and wreckage.

Between those two moves, the change in the birth control rules, and the cuts to enrollment programs, Trump not only has become the owner of Obamacare, he has become its slumlord. As former adviser and a rotting banana peel with feet Steve Bannon said this weekend at the Values Voters Summit (motto: "Making a mockery of the word 'values' for over 10 years"), Trump is not making the CSR payment because he's "Gonna blow that thing up. Gonna blow those exchanges up, right?" Which may sound like the President of the United States seeking to undermine a law in violation of his oath, but, really, who's gonna impeach him?

Trump sees himself as some kind of hero here, mocking insurance companies for losing stock value, daring Democrats to come work with him. But, like every slumlord, he's just trying to drive people out by making the thing they want so terrible that they run away. Then he can swoop in and have his way with it.

Of course, he's not the only slumlord in the family. Jared Kushner, a creepy guy who likely places his creepy penis inside Trump's daughter repeatedly, has been accused of that kind of behavior in various housing developments and buildings he owns. This includes letting things get so bad at one Maryland complex that, in one unit, "The bedroom ceiling...started leaking one day. Then maggots started coming out of the living room carpet. Then raw sewage started flowing out of the kitchen sink." So between that and the racist policies of his father, the Trump clan is filthy with terrible landlords.

After his hissy fit was over back in the 1980s and over a million bucks in legal bills, Trump didn't get the tenants to all move out, although many did.  The building was never knocked down. The top floor is now the home of one of his awful children, Eric Trump, and his family. Daddy slapped his name on the front, "Trump Parc," and now he advertises it as "one of the most desirable addresses on Central Park South, combining renowned luxury with a warm and unique intimacy that is a rarity in today’s new construction."

In other words, he failed, but he owns it. He couldn't take the wrecking ball to it, but he could make it so he could claim it. And he may declare, as he did today, "Obamacare is finished, it's dead, it's gone..You shouldn't even mention it. It's gone. There is no such thing as Obamacare anymore." We may all call it "Trumpcare," but the Affordable Care Act is still there, with its Medicaid expansion and its laws governing pre-existing conditions and limits on payments and more. He didn't touch those.

The slumlord caused a lot of damage but didn't get what he wanted yet.

(Note: The slumlord theory of Trump's behavior can also cover what's going on in Puerto Rico, although that's seeming more like the Shock Doctrine.)

10/12/2017

Trump and Hannity Should Get a Room Next Time

Just before it was time to record, Fox "news" host Sean Hannity asked his assistant, "He likes the mint, right?" His assistant assured him that the mint lip balm was his guest's favorite. "Okay, because I want to make sure he's happy," Hannity said. "He is, after all, our president."

The question came up when Hannity sat opposite Donald Trump before an audience of cheering supporters at the Air National Guard base in Middletown, Pennsylvania. "I hope you remembered the mint this time, Smilin' Seannie," Trump said.

"Yes, Mr. President, I sure did," Hannity exclaimed, pulling the small tube out of his jacket, delighted that Trump had remembered that nickname.

Trump leered, "Lemme see you put it on. Slowly." Hannity grinned as he took the top off and slowly dragged the greasy stick around his lips. "Nice, Seannie. Nice."

The director counted down and then they began. "My second interview since you've been president," Hannity said and then turned to the crowd. "Do you guys want to start with good news?" To the screams of the audience, the TV host got down on his knees and reached into Trump's already unzipped fly, dug around for a moment before coming across something like a toddler's pinky or a shriveled Vienna sausage, pulled it forward as far as he could, and encircled it with his lips.

"Oh, yeah, love that mint," Trump said, leaning back, the better for Hannity to get an angle that would allow him at least some minimal head bobbing without the worm-head penis flopping out of his mouth. Hannity was used to this part, the effort to get Trump even partially erect.

"The market is up 25 percent since you won," Hannity fluffed. "$5.2 trillion in wealth created. We have the lowest unemployment rate in 16 years." He felt the dick twitch until it became like an old cornichon, rubbery but with some stiffness to it. Now he could really go to town. He said, "We are going to be talking at length about your economic plan. It's reform but it's a massive tax cuts."

Trump moaned, "This is the largest tax cut in the history of our country." And then he shoved Hannity's head down as he lied, "Right now, Sean, we are the highest taxed nation in the world." The lies always bring him to the edge of orgasm.

On it went, as Hannity moved through the fake economic plan, and then got to energy and jobs, keeping up a steady pace of sucking and licking, occasionally trying to use a couple of fingers to find room for some yanking. "You've ended a lot of the Obama era regulations," he said, knowing that degrading the name of the black ex-president would give Trump the kind of pleasure that you usually only get from a willing fellater with a pierced tongue. "Especially in industries like energy and coal."

Hannity had learned well and was really good at this, Trump had to admit to himself before gasping in ecstasy, "We are opening mines. We are opening mines in the state of Pennsylvania. We're opening mines in other places. You know, coal is a very, and I call it clean coal. They have technology today that is so incredible, what they can do with the piece of coal is so incredible. I call it clean coal." The fact that mine jobs aren't coming back and that he has no idea what clean coal is (and it's a lie, too) didn't even enter into his mind. All he could think was "Yeah, Smilin' Seannie, yeah."

As the blow job went on, Trump almost came four or five times, but Hannity had the better part of an hour to fill, so he knew when to let up. When Hannity got the crowd to applaud and yell its approval for the phrase "fake news," Trump almost spooged, but Hannity slowed his pace. His cock almost exploded again when Trump went racist talking about crime in urban areas: "You look at what is happening in our inner cities. It's horrible what is going on in terms of the death, in terms of shooting. A woman gets up and she wants to go on a walk with her beautiful daughter. Get a loaf of bread and she ends up getting shot or the daughter gets shot."

What finally did it for Trump is what always does the trick. Hannity brought up potential Russian interference in the election, which gave Trump some brief rage wood. That made Trump flashback to his glory day. "This was an excuse that was used by the Democrats. An excuse for losing an election that frankly they should have won, because winning the Electoral College is so easy for Democrats," Trump whispered, starting to shake a bit as Hannity bore down, sucking like a Hoover set on deep pile. "They start off with three major states. To win the electoral college for a Democrat, it's almost like a given. That is why people said you cannot get to 270. We got to 306."

And, at that number, those magical three digits, as the crowd burst into cheers, Trump came, thrusting forward, dribbling a drop or two of semen into Hannity's mouth, which he eagerly devoured as he sat back. Zipping up, Trump winked at Hannity, who grinned as fulsomely as any man ever has.

Before heading out, Trump said, "And thanks for not asking a single thing about Puerto Rico."

"Now, I would never do that to you, sir," Hannity assured the back of the president.

10/11/2017

Conservative Pundits: Mike Pence Would Sexually Assault Women If He Was Alone With Them

Let's be crystal fuckin' clear about Harvey Weinstein: Set him on fire in the middle of Hollywood as a lesson to every shit man who tries to coerce women and, yes, men into sex. Set him the fuck on fire and don't let anyone put him out no matter how much he screams and then say to everyone gawking, over his charred, grease-smelling corpse, "Okay, you got the message, you abusive bastards?" Do you have any other ideas? Because, at this point, in the 21st goddamn century, I've run out of ways to get across the seeming common sense notion that you don't fucking treat people the way Weinstein did.

It's simply ludicrous that there's gotta be a reckoning on sexual harassment, assault, and rape every few years. Clarence Thomas's pubic hair, Mike Tyson's rape conviction, and Senator Bob Packwood's groping spree, all from the 1990s, seemed like a turning point. Apparently not so much. Now we've got this rash of powerful media figures who should have been taken down decades ago, with Bill O'Reilly, the rotting corpse of Roger Ailes, and Harvey Weinstein. Fuck all of them.

Of course, conservatives, ignoring the fact that Donald Trump has over a dozen such allegations against him, not to mention a certain tape where he talks about grabbing pussies, have been jubilantly demanding that Democrats condemn Weinstein, who was a big donor to Democratic candidates and causes. Fucking Republicans have to be shamed into returning contributions from white supremacists, but, sure, yeah, attack the Democrats on this.

On the outer edge of completely absurd is a short piece by noted Jesus fellater Erick "Erick" Erickson on his internet journal of tongue-gargling and armpit-huffing, The Resurgent. Erickson talks about how liberals mocked Vice President Mike "Always Looks Like His Hemorrhoids Are Acting Up" Pence for his "rule of not dining alone or taking meetings alone with women." Oh, who's laughing now, libtards? The media "will never run stories about Mike Pence sexually harassing women. They’ll never run stories about women unsure whether Pence was propositioning them" because Pence isn't alone with them. Mother, ironically his wife, is by his side on such occasions.

Erickson is so goddamn sure this is a great statement of honor. "Mike Pence could never be accused of wanting to have sex with someone other than his wife in these sorts of situations," Erickson froths, "because he avoids putting himself and the other person into these situations."

Former Trump whisperer Sebastian Gorka, an evil goatee with a human body attached to it, concurred in a tweet: "THINK: If Weinstein had obeyed @VP Pence's rules for meeting with the opposite sex, none of those poor women would ever have been abused."

Put aside for a second that most every man can be alone with a woman without raping her or even grabbing her breast (it's true!). Just today, I was alone in meetings with three separate women. All somehow escaped unscathed. Crazy, right?

And put aside the implication that somehow the women are to blame for allowing themselves to be alone with Weinstein. (Sorry, Erick and the Prick, that's pretty much what you're saying.)

Instead, without much of a leap, what is being implied here is that Vice President Mike Pence would sexually assault women if he was alone with them. What else could they be saying? It's pretty goddamn clear that Pence considers himself a threat to any woman who is close enough to him that he can sniff their lady scent. He couldn't help himself. All that Christian repression would be tossed out the window. And conservative pundits agree. It's truly best that no woman is ever in a space with only Pence. Consider yourselves warned by, well, Erickson and Gorka.

The thread through all of the GOP responses to Weinstein (beyond those who just said, "This is fucking awful for the women involved") is a desperate attempt to spin attention away from the sexual predator they nominated and got elected president. They want their hands to be clean by making sure everyone else's are dirty, especially Hillary Clinton's and Barack Obama's.

Harvey Weinstein will disappear. He might even end up in prison. His victims will have to continue to deal with the damage he inflicted on them. Others will likely be brought down with him.

But Trump will still be president. And the Republican Party will still be abetting him and, by extension, his crimes.

10/10/2017

Time to Out Republicans (Not for What You're Thinking Of)

You've been reading the articles about how Republican Senator Bob Corker said Donald Trump's recklessness and ignorance are setting us "on the path to World War III." Or maybe you've seen the Washington Post story that quotes multiple sources, many anonymous, on how Trump is becoming isolated and rage-filled and unpredictable. Or perhaps you read Michelle Goldberg in the New York Times saying, "Among people who work in politics, Republicans as well as Democrats, it is conventional wisdom in DC that President Trump is staggeringly ill-informed, erratic, reckless and dishonest." Or you could have seen the Politico article that "Trump, several advisers and aides said, sometimes comes into the Oval Office worked into a lather from talking to friends or watching TV coverage in the morning," and they have to calm him down by rubbing his chins or something.

Corker, who isn't running for reelection in 2018, also said, "The vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here...of course they understand the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road."

And that's the thread that runs through these articles. It's taken as true that many, many Republicans know that Trump is unfit for office. What else we can glean is something that Vox's Ezra Klein tweeted today: "Every political reporter know plenty of top Republicans routinely talk like Corker behind closed doors. There is such widespread cowardice here, and the country is paying the price."

I don't know many people who have access to Republicans in Congress, but the few I've spoken to say the same thing, that, with the exception of the nutzoids in the Freedom Caucus, pretty much down the line and around the nation, Republicans in the House and Senate know that Trump is unfit. What's more, they know he's dangerous. What's more, they know that if he does something completely insane, like nuke North Korea, they are responsible. So it weighs on these cowards. Do we challenge the president and face the wrath of Breitbart and Fox and the doxing, death-threatening legions of insane tweeters and Redditors and 4 and 8chan-nintgtons, bots and true believers alike? Or do we just keep our mouths shut and hope we get reelected and hope beyond hope that he's not that crazy?

Here is where those political reporters and all the connected pundits come in. Yeah, you're not supposed to name your sources. Yeah, it's a big damn journalistic principle. But if I thought my best friend was going to shoot up a school, I'd violate the bro code or whatever and tell someone because that's what you do. (Note: None of my besties own guns.) When it comes to Trump, we're talking far more than that level of danger, and that's coming from Corker, one Republican who did speak out.

You know how you play this game, the one that asks, "If you could go back in time and stop Hitler, would you?" Here, you don't even have to kill a baby. But you might stop a nuclear war. You might get a madman out of the position to inflict his madness on the world.

Media folk just need to reveal the Republicans who believe that Trump can't function as the president. Out them. Let's get it all out in the open. I don't know if the next step would be for them to impeach or remove him in some way. But at least it might force them to support something like the Lieu/Markey bill to compel a president to go through Congress before launching an offensive nuclear strike.

Sure, you're gonna burn sources. But maybe that's a small price to pay to force sunshine into the darkness we find ourselves facing.

10/09/2017

Columbus Day for the Conquered: Yeah, Trump Dicks Over Indigenous People, Too

Believe it or not, the policies and proposals of President Donald Trump, for whom the Washington Redskins could rename themselves "Orangeskins" and offend far fewer people, will have or are having a detrimental effect on Indian communities throughout the country. No one is immune from his patented brand of incompetence, cruelty, and fuckery.

Take, for instance, Trump's budget proposal from a few months back. It cuts federal funding to Indian country over 10 percent. That's $300 million less for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, $50 million cut from HUD's budget for housing for Indian communities, and $150 million cut from the Indian Health Service. Oh, and Indian education programs would be cut by $64 million plus an additional $58 million cut from funds to repair worn-out school buildings in Indian country.

On and on the cuts go, to law enforcement, to youth delinquency programs, to assistance programs, to tribal national resource management programs. And because the war on children by this administration is never truly complete, cuts to child welfare programs on reservations are proposed, too.

The budget proposal so thoroughly dicks over Indian country that an Oklahoma Republican member of Congress, Tom Cole, who is a Chickasaw, spoke out, saying, "I can tell you, whoever came up with this budget, I don't hold them in high esteem."

Trump himself actually met with tribal leaders back in June, and he didn't talk about Pocahontas or Tonto or say, "How" and tap his "woo-woo"-ing mouth. Of course, what he did was make unrealistic promises because he had no fucking clue what they were talking about. "We love Indian Country, right?" he said because, yeah, that's what he does. And Trump talked about how he was going to make land use much easier for Indian tribes: "All you want is the freedom to use them, and that’s been the problem. It’s been very difficult, hasn’t it? It will be a lot easier now under the Trump administration."

While some things won't happen (like a weakening of the National Environmental Policy Act so drilling and other shitty activities can get going faster), the Native American groups' representatives there hoped for an answer on getting land-into-trust requests expedited. This is how tribes get more land around their reservations, by restoring traditional lands to the tribes. But the Trump administration just last week announced that Department of the Interior was proposing to make the already years-long process more onerous and to actively discourage tribes from getting land back. So, in other words, deregulation is great except when it might benefit someone other than huge corporations.

Meanwhile, North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, has proposed a bill to help with the "epidemic" of "missing and murdered Native women." In a speech on the floor of the Senate, Heitkamp told the stories of four women whose cases are still open. She said, "Native women and girls face a crisis of exploitation, violence, and murder – we must take action to protect them as I’ve long been working to do."

The bill, named after a young woman who disappeared when she was 8 months pregnant and was later found murdered, would require "federal agencies to discover the extent of the problem by reporting on the numbers of missing and murdered Native women every year. To address potential shortfalls, it creates a standardized protocol for federal, tribal, state and local governments to follow in dealing with these types of cases."

Heitkamp's impassioned plea, followed by equally strong words from Lisa Murkowski, the Alaska Republican who is co-sponsoring the legislation, received virtually no media coverage. This despite the fact that, as Heitkamp points out, "In 2016, North Dakota had 125 reported cases of missing Native women according to the National Crime Information Center, but numbers are likely much higher as cases are often under reported and data isn’t officially collected."

Which is a situation that Christopher Columbus would approve of.

10/05/2017

Fuck You, Steve Scalise

Before he was shot and nearly killed in June, Representative Steve Scalise was a motherfucker on cultural issues. How much of a motherfucker was he? His security detail as Majority Whip in the House of Representatives included Capitol Officer Crystal Griner. Griner and another officer, David Bailey, were injured saving Scalise, with Griner being shot in the ankle. Scalise released a statement specifically thanking the two: "I am especially grateful to Crystal and David, who I have been blessed to have by my side day in and day out in my job as Majority Whip. I would not be here today without the bravery of Crystal and David. They saved my life, and are my heroes."

That's right. For three years, since he was elected Majority Whip, the Louisiana Republican has had Crystal Griner by his side. Griner, as you may have heard, is a lesbian who is married to, wait for it, a woman.

Being a nutzoid Christian, Steve Scalise has spent a good chunk of his career blocking the rights of the woman who put her safety on the line for him and, as he said, saved his life. On his official congressional web page, it brags, "Congressman Scalise has worked diligently throughout his career to protect traditional marriage. Scalise has co-sponsored legislation to amend the Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. As a member of the Louisiana State Legislature, Congressman Scalise authored a similar amendment to the Louisiana Constitution that protects traditional marriage."

So he was being protected by someone whose happiness he sought to prevent. That's how much of a motherfucker he was. And now, after the shooting, after he was saved by Griner, he's even more of a motherfucker because he's going right back to fucking mothers.

One of his first big public appearances will be at the hategasm known as the Values Voters Summit. That's a gathering of homophobic Jesus-fellaters who rant for a couple of days at a DC hotel about how fucked the nation is, how much they hate libtards, the poors, and the darks, and how Donald Trump's shit tastes like delicious chocolate pie. It's sponsored by the mad Family Research Council (motto: "Proud to be labeled a hate group"), whose "Human Sexuality" page makes you think that LGBTQ Americans are essentially Isis in better clothes and that the Obergefell decision legalizing same-sex marriage is the day God puked.

Yeah, in a royal "Fuck you, my real savior," Scalise is gonna speak to these dipshits.

And before you say, "Oh, wait, he might say something about a change of heart."

After I stopped laughing at how adorable you are, I'd point out that in his first post-hospitalization interviews this week, Scalise has said that his being shot and all those people in Las Vegas being killed has only strengthened his desire to stick his dick into a shotgun barrel and fuck it.

On Fox "news," Scalise was firm about his bullshit, dangerous interpretation of the 2nd Amendment: "I think it's fortified it because first of all, you've got to recognize that when there is a tragedy like this, the first thing we should be thinking about is praying for the people who were injured and doing whatever we can to help them, to help law enforcement. We shouldn't be first thinking of promoting our political agenda." And then, like so many fucking idiots talking about guns, he brought up how law enforcement has guns, which no one is saying should change: "Frankly what I experienced was when there was a shooter, luckily we had Capitol Police there with their own guns. Every single day in America regular citizens that just have a passionate belief in the Second Amendment, who have their own guns, use guns every single day to protect themselves against criminals...that's a different side of the story that I think is important. People use guns way more to defend themselves against criminals than criminals use guns to hurt people."

Oh, go fuck yourself with your own shattered pelvis, you fucking blind shitheel. First of all, Griner and Bailey didn't have "their own guns." They had department-issued guns. And, you dumb motherfucker, guns harm more people than they help, as study after study after study has shown. And you can't just compare crimes committed versus crimes stopped; you better throw in accidents, suicides, and more in there or you're just a lying son of a bitch.

Did anyone really think that Scalise, who comes from a gerrymandered district in deep red Louisiana, David Duke country and the creepy-ass area where the first season of True Detective took place combined, would gain wisdom and perspective from learning what exactly bullets can do to a body? C'mon. He could have taken ten bullets and watched his whole family be shot and all of them saved by a group of gay EMTs and not a goddamn thought of transformation would enter his depraved fucking head. A bought and paid for whore knows that he's gotta keep working for his pimp. He gets no sympathy. He doesn't get a pass for his pain when he wants so many others to suffer.

Welcome back, Steve Scalise, and fuck you endlessly.

10/04/2017

On Guns, on Abortion, on Everything, the Right Knows It's Wrong (and They Don't Care)

The conservative movement in this country is filthy with hypocrites. It's always been that way: the ones who talk morality and law and order are always the ones who are busy snorting coke off the hard dicks of male prostitutes. Conservatism can't function without hypocrisy because it demands an impossible purity from its adherents.

You, dear, corrupt conservative, have to be able to trick the rubes into signing onto the greed and avarice part of your policies. You need those votes because, for now, there still is some semblance of democracy. You need to give the rubes red meat to keep them interested because they sure as shit aren't going to understand marginal tax rates. So that's why you gotta feed 'em flags, guns, Jesus, and abortion. And that's where the purity no one can achieve fucks you over all the time.

Rep. Tim Murphy of the former coal mining area around Pittsburgh is a Republican (of course) who was a big deal in the anti-abortion movement (of course). He just cosponsored a bill to ban all abortions after 20 weeks, something that is generally only done in medical emergencies and is about 1% of all abortions. He is married but had a mistress he was fucking (of course) and knocked up (of course). So he told her to get an abortion. Of course. Like every gay-bashing cocksucker and every hooker-humping preacher, Murphy was a conservative who was saying one thing and doing another. When Shannon Edwards, the forensic psychologist Murphy was boning, confronted the congressman about an anti-choice Facebook post he supposedly had written after saying she should abort their love fetus, Murphy responded, "I get what you say about my March for Life messages. I've never written them. Staff does them. I read them and winced."

In other words, Murphy, like nearly every anti-choice politician, knows that abortion needs to be safe and legal for his misterss. But he refuses to say it should be for everyone else.

A whole other level of hypocrisy is that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, two of President Donald Trump's closest advisers, have been using private email accounts for government business. And now, it seems, they have been using the private email server of the Trump Corporation. Let's put it this way: this is exactly what Trump and the media talked about for months during the campaign. Hillary Clinton's private email and use of a non-government server was worse than five Watergates plus three Teapot Domes. It was the greatest scandal in America's history because we were told it was. Sure, everyone investigating it found nothing to prosecute Clinton, but that's just that the fix was in and Clintons murder people and Seth Rich and fucking nothing matters because Jared and Ivanka are doing the same shit but no one cares.

In other words, "but her emails" was a big fucking joke, a lie to make Clinton appear sinister and a trick to make the rubes happy with rage.

And the thing is that they know it. Conservative politicians and commentators simply know the difference between right and wrong. They just don't give a happy monkey fuck because anything that impinges on their power needs to be suppressed.

Which brings us around to guns. I promise you that most NRA-owned politicians know that no Democrats are trying to take away all the guns, despite the NRA's scurrilous propaganda. I promise you that they know that common sense laws restricting gun ownership would actually slow down the number of shootings. I promise you that they know there should be an assault weapons ban and more. Sure, there are the true believers, but reporters hear all the time from Republicans, especially, that they would support background checks and permits but, if they do, the NRA will say they want to melt down all your guns to make a Black Lives Matter monument.

Conservative beliefs are utterly delusional and fly in the face of all facts and all aspects of human behavior. We know that gun control works because it works everywhere gun laws are strict. We know that limiting access to abortion and birth control ends up harming women. We know that use of a private email server isn't a major crime. We know that football players protesting by kneeling during the National Anthem is protected speech. But conservatives have to keep the rubes at bay. The only way to reconcile the abject, fucked-up hypocrisy that conservatives live with is that they know. They just don't fucking care because there has been no cost to not caring since 2008 (and much longer in some congressional districts).

And so nothing will be done when it comes to guns in the wake of Las Vegas (and Orlando and Newtown and...). Until they are forced to pay for their hypocrisy, for the complete and utter fraud they have perpetrated (including the support for Trump), nothing is going to ever happen.

10/03/2017

Donald Trump Beclowns Himself in Puerto Rico

Jesus fuckballs, how much more embarrassing can this presidency get than soulless tangerine cretin Donald Trump play-acting sympathy while touring the devastation in Puerto Rico? At this point, Trump could drop his pants, bend over, and blow his fast food shits all over homeless children clutching their last teddy bear, and we'd say, "Yeah, we were pretty much expecting that."

Speaking at a National Guard base on the island, Trump spent a great deal of time on how awesome his administration is. He bragged about Linda McMahon more than he talked about the people of Puerto Rico: "I also want to thank Linda McMahon, Small Business. I always joke -- I said, she's in charge of small business, but small business is massive business when you add it all up. And she has done an incredible job -- built a great company with her husband, Vince McMahon. And I wanted her so badly for this position because there's nobody that knows how to build a company like those and, let me tell you, like this woman. She has been amazing in business, and now she's doing an incredible job as the Administrator." We get it, man. You like wrestling.

And then he gave a lesson in what Mick Mulvaney does: "Mick Mulvaney is here -- right there -- and Mick is in charge of a thing called 'budget.'" Trump pretty much did the rhetorical equivalent of blowing shit when he said, "Now, I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you've thrown our budget a little out of whack because we've spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico." I'm sure the starving people digging their few surviving possessions out of mud will try to economize to save the "budget." Fucking moron. Fucking clown.

But it got worse when he compared the deaths in Puerto Rico to the deaths during Katrina, which he really did, for fuck's motherfucking sake: "Every death is a horror. But if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here with, really, a storm that was just totally overpowering -- nobody has ever seen anything like this." What kind of savage bitch-faced cock mite tells devastated people that they have it better than other devastated people? Comparing the number of reported (so far) deaths in Puerto Rico to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, Trump said, "Sixteen people versus in the thousands." No, not "thousands." Less than 2000 died in Katrina. Horrible, but not thousands. Besides, this is not a game. Except to a clown, everything's a game.

You might be reading this, thinking, "Well, at least he didn't do that thing where he brags about himself." No, fuck you, of course, he did. When an Air Force representative talked about supply and rescue flights, Trump jumped in, "So amazing that we're ordering hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of new airplanes for the Air Force, especially the F-35." Then the chemicals in his shrunken brain rolling around inside his soft skull clicked over to campaign mode as he said, in the middle of a place that was ripped apart and will take years to put back together, "That's an expensive plane that you can't see. And as you probably heard, we cut the price very substantially -- something that other administrations would never have done, that I can tell you."

We are in some kind of psychological experiment in how much stupidity, shame, and savagery we can take before we break or we just say, "Fuck this. I'm watching Netflix and never coming out." And Netflix is calling louder and louder.

When he was getting ready to go on the tour, Trump said that the people who are waiting all day to get water or gas or food, who have no place to store the dead, who are starting to see diseases crop up, who have no power, should be grateful: "I appreciate your support and I know you appreciate our support, because our country has really gone all out to help. And it's not only dangerous, it's expensive." Yeah, they'll get right to decorating a thank-you card as soon as they can eat and have more than one operational hospital.

In Texas in August after Hurricane Harvey, Trump didn't mention how expensive the support would be. He didn't talk about the budget. In Florida in September after Hurricane Irma, Trump didn't say a word about the cost. Only in Puerto Rico. Only there.

And, leaving one area, he told the victims of the storm, "Have a good time." The whole visit was his way of saying that he's not responsible for the clusterfuck of ineffectiveness and incompetence that has ruled the rescue and clean-up effort so far. But Trump's the fuckin' president, man. He can spin, but he can't hide.

Goddamn, this dumb, racist asshole is beclowning our entire country.

10/02/2017

Gun Crazy: Las Vegas Edition

I'm not going to try to recapitulate the horror of last night in Las Vegas where at least 58 people were killed by a single gunman firing from the 32nd floor of a hotel into a crowd of 22,000 at a Jason Aldean concert, the deadliest massacre in modern times. I'm not going to tell you about the gunman because fuck him. Fuck everything about him. Fuck his life. Fuck his death. Fuck everything he ever loved. Fuck him in Hell with the hot barrels of the 18-20 guns and each of the thousands of rounds of ammo he had with him in the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

I don't give a fuck if he was white or brown or plaid. I don't give a fuck if he was ISIS or Nazi or whatever. I don't give a fuck about his brother, who keeps getting interviewed. What I do give a fuck about is that he was able to own that many guns. How the fuck does a nation allow that? How is that rational? How does it make anyone safer? It's aiding and abetting someone's mental illness at some point. He's just a hoarder with a side of intense paranoia and a socio- and/or psychopath.

Not that gun owners care or have any perspective. Let me give you one anecdote before getting to the motherfucking NRA. Lorraine Berry wrote to me this morning: "I'm trapped in a waiting room in Florida waiting for a mammogram. Watching the news and some newsperson asks why the guy did this. I say, 'Because we sell machine guns in this country.' Immediately, 5 women come after me, tell me they love their guns. One owns 6. Immediately start speculating it was Antifa that did this. I cite facts but they accuse me of being emotional...After they thought I had stopped paying attention, they started talking amongst themselves. 'My son-in-law is a registered gun dealer. I know so many people with mental problems that own guns. I don't know how they got through the loopholes. Unless you've been certified, you can buy a gun.' But they're so sure that it's their right to own those guns. Told me it was their constitutional right. They told me they were tired of being 'silenced.' I said, 'You haven't had a gun law passed in a decade. You own Congress. I have no idea how you are the victims here.'"

That feeling of imminent victimhood is what drives the National Rifle Association, a group of vermin that feeds on the corpses of gunshot victims, sucking their blood to boost gun sales and their membership, fostering the mental illness of thousands of Americans, the 3% who own over half the guns in the nation, a group that the dogfucker in Vegas belonged to, and the NRA fans the flames of their madness, telling them, through the cruel, pursed, snarling lips of Dana Loesch, that politicians are gonna send goons to take their guns away, something that has never happened in the modern United States, but it makes them feel like victims, it feeds the paranoia, it pushes them to buy more guns and more ammo.

What a goddamned, pathetic nation this must be for this to be allowed.

Right now, not only is the NRA active in trying to get a bill allowing silencer purchases for any "hunter" or "sportsperson," it's trying to get a decision on a magazine size ban in Maryland overturned. It's celebrating new laws allowing for concealed carry of weapons on college campuses in several states. It's a terrorist organization as sure as ISIS is. The NRA uses fear and violence to promote its political agenda. And it uses shit-tons of money. The NRA leadership is dancing on piles of cash with fresh bodies of people from Las Vegas and with the rotting corpses from Orlando and with the child-sized skeletons of Newtown.

We have to be able to agree that some things are just wrong. If we can't agree, as a society, that the way we have handled the ownership of guns in the United States is a complete catastrophe, we can't move forward. At this point, the proliferation and propagation of guns is like what happens when measles gets into a group of children whose parents have refused to inoculate them. Yeah, your freedom got a bunch of people hurt. Is it worth it?

You should not be allowed to own a bunch of guns. You should not be allowed to own large magazines. You should not be allowed to own semi-automatic or automatic rifles. You should be required to get trained and licensed. You should have to register every gun. You should have to use whatever modern technology is available to make guns safer. You shouldn't be allowed to buy a large amount of ammunition without a special permit. You should have to pass a background check for every purchase. You should have to be certified as not mentally ill. You shouldn't be allowed to have a gun if you have had domestic violence restraining order filed against you.

That's basic, man. Any society that doesn't do that, the bare minimum in the realm of "well-regulated," is a society that has gone insane.

Instead of doing something, Republicans and other conservatives tell us that we shouldn't politicize a shooting (although, you know, ignoring the politics of something is a political act). They tell us that good guys with guns can stop crimes (although I'm not sure how a few thousand people firing at the hotels on the Strip would have helped anyone). They tell us that places like Chicago, with slightly tighter gun laws, have a great deal of gun violence (although most of those guns come from outside Chicago because, apparently, there are roads that go in and out of the city).

They will do anything to protect the delusions of the gun nuts, as well as their filthy campaign war chests.

I have no words of wisdom. I can't offer any comfort.  We've all said it all before. We all know what has to be done. But we don't do it.

We are all hostages to the armed and deranged among us.

(Note to complainers: I don't give a fuck today if you think my use of "mentally ill," "crazy," or "insane" is "ableist." I just don't give a fuck today. Save it for tomorrow.)

9/29/2017

The 14th Anniversary of the Rude Pundit: Give Me Money (Last Plea)

One question I've gotten from a couple of people this year is "Why the hell did you start blogging?" The answer is simple: Because back in 2003, there was shit that just wasn't getting said, and it was up to all of us to say it.

And the follow-up is usually "Why continue blogging?" The answer is simple: Because of some fucked-up compulsion I can't control. And, even more so, because the rude readers are awesome, as they have been for the last 14 years. Some of you have been with this profane corner of Left Blogsylvania since the beginning, and some of you have jumped on the rude train only recently.

So on this, the 14th anniversary of this joint, thanks for the compliments, insults, arguments, and agreements. No, I still don't give a shit in that I don't need the ego boost or any such bullshit. If I ever start posting or retweeting love messages, someone punch me in the face. But it's damn nice to know you're out there.

And you've been damn kind this year for my biennial fundraiser. You've joined up on Patreon, which you can do starting for a single buck a month, and you'll get some extra bonus subscriber-only rudeness. You've given outright on PayPal (which you can still do - see that button over there? Or click right here).

While I'll still bug you occasionally about Patreon, especially once I get the podcast up and running and start producing more videos (thanks to your donations), I won't be hounding you for cash for at least another couple of years.

But I've got a fresh stock of whiskey (again, thanks to your donations), enough to make it through the inevitable impeachment/resignation/coup, and more material than any lone, obscene blogger can handle. Let's keep going, dancing into the conflagration together.

9/28/2017

Almost the End of the Biennial Anniversary Fundraiser and Wordy Title Generator: Help Start a Rude Podcast

Tomorrow is R-Day, the 14th anniversary of this blog. So, like I do every couple of years, I'm throwing myself a money party.

I'm asking for donations or subscriptions so I can expand the Empire of the Rude to include a new podcast and some videos, as well as another trip to sunny L.A. from not-as-sunny NYC to get filthy as you want me to be on Stephanie Miller's Happy Hour. The last one was an obscene journey into porn, the one before that an even more obscene journey into my family history. A third one will probably require a fire hose to cool it down.

You can go the Patreon route with monthly donations and get extra rudeness in your life with bonus blog posts and other stuff.

Or you can just drop some change at PayPal by hitting that button over there on the side or clicking here.

Either way, thanks to everyone who donated so far. You have helped to make another couple of years of mind-altered, scatological political commentary possible.

Oh, and I'm taking questions from readers (and you don't need to contribute to ask).

Like Jaime D., who wants to know, "What's your favorite post of all time?" Well, Jaime, my posts are like children. I generally like the more recent ones, but I can look back on the older ones and say, "Those didn't age too badly." But, push comes to shove, I'm gonna go all the way back to 2004, right after George W. Bush won re-election, and say that this one set the tone for much of what came after.

Sasha Y., who swears she's not a Russian bot, asks, "Fuck, marry, kill? Bush, Obama, Trump?" I think by law I can't say that I'd like to kill any living president. But I think I can say, "Fuck Bush, marry Obama."

Feel free to throw other questions at me. (And toss some coins in the hat, too.)

The Deep Denial of Trump Supporters: Puerto Rico Edition

Imagine, if you will, President Donald Trump as a giant, bloated, orange sow and his idiot hordes of supporters as a litter of inbred piglets, each with their own deformity and damage, all kinds of shades of orange, each just a hungry, squeaking pig baby, all fighting with each other, shoving and climbing over one another, desperately trying to get to the Trump sow's engorged teats, so rich with the sweet, white milk of intense contempt and abject hatred, and when one idiot piglet furiously suckles from the Trump sow's nipple, another thinks the first piglet is becoming too favored, so it bites and pushes until the first mutant piglet unlatches and the angrier piglet can shove the Trump sow teat into his mouth, thrilled as the warm malignancy of Trump's milk pours into him, not realizing or even caring that what they drink is poisoned, that it is getting into their piglet systems and turning them into irrational, tiny beasts who believe that their squeals need to be heard above everyone else's.

Meanwhile, the Trump sow sighs deeply, satisfied in the knowledge that his poison is spreading.

We see it time and again, the way that Trump's voters will ignore whatever reality is right in their faces, whatever facts are present, in order to justify, defend, and believe something that Trump says. Try telling them that the Trump administration is deliberately sabotaging the Affordable Care Act and they'll scream that Obamacare is in a death spiral or a disaster or some such shit. Hell, you can bet that they believe Trump that the ACA repeal didn't happen because a senator was in the hospital despite the clear, indisputable fact that no senator was in the hospital. How else do you get the rubes to buy the snake oil from your wagon if you don't get them to believe that massive tax cuts for the wealthy will help them, not you?

My favorite recent version of the sputtering, delusional denial of Trump supporters is that Trump isn't fucking up the response to devastation in Puerto Rico. In fact, fuck you, you hater, for even implying that.

It's all over Twitter:

Right-wing commentators are pissed off that Trump's not getting credit for doing the least he could do:

By the way, that 10,000 number that Trump piglets keep tossing around is the number of National Guard members that were already stationed on the island. (More have arrived, yes, but they've been using that number since the day after the hurricane.)

Some Trump piglets are pissed off at Rihanna:

And I mean really pissed off at Rihanna:


And neo-Nazis are pissed, too:


And some piglets just suckle without shame:

Meanwhile, in what we might consider "reality," Trump had to be shamed into lifting the Jones Act, which will allow ships to more quickly deliver aid. He keeps lying about the federal response and the "reviews" he's getting and even the size of Hurricane Maria. And people who are on the ground there or, you know, have eyes are seeing Trump's failure to expedite aid as racist and cruel. And the general who was appointed by President Bush (you know, a Republican) to clean up his fuck-ups after Hurricane Katrina is saying that this is some bullshit right here. And the aid that has arrived hasn't been able to be distributed because, hell, I guess someone forgot to send some fucking trucks or something.

What the piglets count on is that the Trump sow will never run out of poisoned milk. It looks like it never will.

9/27/2017

The Rude Pundit's Biennial Anniversary Fundraiser Continues: 14 Years Older Now

Just a couple of more days of online panhandling, and then the fundraiser disappears for at least another two years (except for the Patreon subscribers, who get the extras starting this weekend).

It's been almost 14 years since I started this little postage stamp of bloggery. Back then, the political blogosphere was the Wild West, and I was the town drunk who occasional sobered up enough to win a shootout. We were younger then, in those heady days of Autumn 2003, full of cynical optimism and the belief that we could change the world, like all youngsters do. We wanted to express ourselves and yawp our barbaric yawps for all to hear. There wasn't even Twitter. Nor Facebook. It was like the virtual version of New Orleans in the 1970s, sleazy and deranged and so half-mad from ambition that we just wanted to play music in the streets, not caring who heard us, who we annoyed, who we charmed.

Now so many of us have gone legit or gone by the wayside, whether it's Ezra Klein and Jill Filipovic, who I knew at the begining of their blossoming careers, or the dearly departed Steve Gilliard and Bartcop, who raged hard and bright, or the disappeared Billmon and the done-with-this-shit Pam Spaulding.

And then there are the stalwarts, still here, still independent, still standing, like Digby and Atrios.

And me, motherfuckers, me.

So here's the deal: Punch that button that says, "PayPal" on the side or click here.

I'm gonna use the funds for the usual stash of whiskey, weed, maybe a little Molly for special occasions, and for a trip to Los Angeles to do an encore appearance on Stephanie Miller's Happy Hour podcast. I'm also gonna get a good microphone, a faster computer, and some software to make a kickass podcast and some cool videos. Let's expand the Empire of the Rude.

Make it happen
.

Jeff Sessions, Let Me School You About Colleges and Free Speech

Dear Jeff Sessions,

Yesterday, you gave a speech at Georgetown University, which I gather was some kind of punishment for misbehaving freshmen or something. The subject was freedom of speech, which, in light of your boss's call for the firing of professional football players who use their speech freely, is disingenuous at best and crass exploitation at worst.

Let's be clear what this was about: it was about the freedom of speech of conservatives who are being protested on college campuses. And, yeah, I happen to believe that people should be heard, even horrible people (like, you know, you and everyone in your sickeningly perverse party). In fact, let shitty humans keep talking. It's like watching a confused, angry moose fuck a log. You wanna tell it to stop, that it's gotta hurt and it's just embarrassing. But somehow, you can't look away because the moose just wants to bust a moose nut at all costs.

But lemme put on my professor hat here to tell you this: You and every goddamn whiny conservative who is suddenly so very concerned about the First Amendment can go suck all the donkey dicks you can fit into your elastic, lying mouths. Bitch, there are something like 4000 colleges and universities around the United States. The incredibly limited number of incidents you cite, while somewhat troubling (if you look at the facts, not your hyperbolic flatulence), are a drop in an ocean of campuses.

Most schools are filled with students who just don't give a fuck about this kind of shit. They just wanna go to their classes, maybe have some fun, and get their degrees. Hell, man, on my campus, someone wrote, "Trump" in chalk on the sidewalk during the 2016 campaign and no one ran to a safe room. Everyone just walked over it until it faded away. It's not that they're not engaged or politically aware or any of that. It's that shit rolls off them until it starts raining shit too heavily.

And as far as safe spaces and trigger warnings? What's wrong with telling students in a class, "Hey, we're gonna deal with some heavy stuff. Just wanna give you a heads up"? What's wrong with having places on campus where marginalized students can go and be heard?

And free speech? Hell, Jeff, the incompetent grifter who is Secretary of Education just fucking told rape victims on college campuses their speech didn't matter. If you wanna do some good for college students, deal with the harassment and physical violence that students face.

As for you, Jeff, and your faux high-minded crapfest of a speech (really, dude, the words "Martin Luther King" should never leave your shitheel mouth)? Oh, I could point out the myriad ways your examples are utterly wrong. The story you tell about students arrested at a Michigan college for "handing out copies of the United States Constitution"? They weren't arrested for handing out the Constitution. They were arrested and jailed for violating Kellogg Community College's bullshit policy restricting when and where any kind of free speech can occur. But that fucks up the narrative of loyal patriots being repressed, doesn't it?

Or you said, "at Boise State University in Idaho, the Student Code of Conduct prohibits '[c]onduct that a reasonable person would find offensive.'" And you leave it there. Except the Student Code of Conduct is pretty fuckin' clear what it means if you put in the full phrase. The school prohibits "Conduct that a reasonable person would find offensive such as lewd, indecent, obscene, or profane actions." In fact, BSU (heh) worked with both the conservative Idaho Freedom Foundation and the ACLU on crafting its speech code. Hey, I'm making a lewd and obscene gesture right now at your little monkey face, Jeff. Yeah, sit and rotate on that, you jibbering, repressed leprechaun.

Instead, how about we look at what Senator Jeff Sessions had to say about the First Amendment back in the day? You weren't so interested in protecting radical left-wing speech because you had a bee in your saggy bonnet over flag-burning for years. In 2000, during a debate over money in politics, you cited William Rehnquist, who said, "At best, burning a flag is a grunt or a roar" and then said, "The First Amendment is about intelligent debate, argument, concern over policy issues--not whether or not you have a 'grunt' or a 'roar' in burning a flag. I don't believe that was ever intended to be covered by the Constitution."

Yet you ask in your speech yesterday, "Who decides what is offensive and what is acceptable?" Well, I guess you fucking decided when it came to flag-burning. And, of course, to people laughing at your Lucky Charms ass.

That's because, really, underneath the hollow and dull rhetoric, underneath the grand pronouncements of the primacy of speech, underneath the obsequious invocations of civil rights protests and the forced disparagement of the KKK, there is a disdain for speech that appalls you.

You showed it quite clearly when you prevented dissenters from attending the lecture. You said it quite clearly when you thought you were making your big point, that the university "is transforming into an echo chamber of political correctness and homogeneous thought, a shelter for fragile egos."

No, it's not. There are excesses, sure, and those should be dealt with. But, mostly, it's a place for the pursuit of truth. The problem is that truth now doesn't include the entirety of conservative belief.

What you really want, Jeff Sessions, is a safe space for the spread of your lies.

Closed-mouth kisses,
The Rude Pundit

9/26/2017

The Rude Pundit's 14th Anniversary Fundraiser Continues

Friday marks 14 years of rudeness, which is a large chunk of all of our lives, but especially mine. And every couple of years, I like to ask for a dollar or a shekel or whatever currency you have in order to replenish the whiskey and weed stock and get some new equipment, like a fancy new computer. Is it as important as rebuilding Puerto Rico? Nah. But it's a mitzvah to value the work you love to read.

Besides, I'm also gonna use your donations for microphones and software to produce a bangin' podcast (god, my soul died a little writing that phrase, but, truly, I have some cool ideas for it). And some videos. And even another trip to Los Angeles to be on Stephanie Miller's Happy Hour podcast, where she gets me good and drunk and talkin' dirty and revealin' secrets.

So you can hit that PayPal button over there on the right. Or you can just click here. I show you mine almost every day. You can show me yours.

As I do every anniversary and fundraiser, I open the floor for questions from rude readers (and I'm still accepting them - you don't even have to give any money).

Karen V. wants to know the answer to the same question I always get: "Why don't you allow comments on your blog?" And I'll give the glib answer first: Have you read the comments elsewhere? The bigger answer is that I don't wanna have to monitor that shit. But you can wander over to the mighty Book of Face and join the Rude Pundit page where the dialogue is free and nasty.

Andrew R. asks, "Who do you think will last longer in his job, Speaker Ryan or Trump?" Paul Ryan is the kind of vermin that is almost impossible to get rid of, like roaches or Dudebros. But I do think that Ryan is not long for his speakership because Democrats will likely win back the House in November 2018. However, I give better than even odds that Trump is gone before that and not bad odds that he's gone long before. So I'll say, "Fuck Trump."

Send more. Send money. Send love. Once this is over, the fundraiser disappears for at least another two years.

Donald Trump: The Unaccountable Man

Blithering bag of scorched foreskins and U.S. president Donald Trump was asked this morning by a reporter, "How much money do you think Puerto Rico needs?" Trump had barely spoken about the desperate situation in the U.S. territory and the danger to the safety and lives of over 3 million Americans, many of whom have family on the mainland. But, goddamnit, he was ready to throw down some knowledge about what islands are.

"This is an island sitting in the middle of an ocean. And it's a big ocean; it's a very big ocean," Trump exclaimed, as if he had just discovered the Atlantic. Later, in a press conference with the prime minister of Spain (who Trump kept calling "President"), he used his children's encyclopedia knowledge even more: "This isn't like Florida where we can go up the spine; this isn't like Texas where we go right down the middle and we distribute. This is a thing called the Atlantic Ocean; this is tough stuff." He added, "It's the most difficult job because it's on the island, it's on an island in the middle of the ocean. It's out in the ocean. You can't just drive your trucks there from other states."

Donald Trump seems like the kind of rich asshole who everyone has always told is brilliant no matter what vile, idiotic, obvious, and/or worthless shit dribbles down from his tiny brain and is ejected by his hideous mouth. "I think I should own multiple casinos that will compete with each other in a small area" is greeted with the same enthusiastic brown-nosing that "Damn, that bitch is hot. I could totally bang her" is. No one has ever looked into his blank, emotionless eyes and said, "You motherfucking moron, you're completely and utterly wrong. Get the fuck out of here." So, of course, he can proclaim the definition of "island" and be told that he's really onto something there.

This tangerine Golem has lived his entire life without any accountability. He was always the boss's son or the boss at his business. One thing that's always bugged the shit out of me that received very little attention during the 2016 election is that Trump never took his company public. He never put up stock for sale, which would have been the easiest way to get an infusion of cash. But Trump didn't do that, so he was never even accountable to a board or stockholders or the SEC. He only had to tell his children and lackeys what to do and pretend that he was worth far more than he was.

I asked financial wizard and economics writer Barry Ritholtz about this recently, about why he thinks Trump never offered stock in the Trump Corporation, and he offered a straightforward answer:

"1. His companies were never that valuable
2. REITs [Real Estate Investment Trusts] for real estate (apartments, malls, offices) usually require expert managers for things like taxes, maintenance, low vacancy rates, etc.
3. He was always a dicey credit risk.
4. Not paying your bills is not an acceptable business model."

I'd add one more thing to it. Shareholders demand to know the truth about the business. Trump traffics in bullshit, shenanigans, and fraud, and he has made so many desperate, shady deals that there is no way it could stand up to any kind of scrutiny. He's about to find out how right he was if Robert Mueller's investigation finally unleashes the firestorm that we hope will engulf Trump and his entire perverse administration.

Back to Puerto Rico, of course Trump made it about him because of course he did. With Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy by his side, Trump glowed about the "tremendous reviews" he thinks he's gotten for how he's dealt with the crisis. Earlier, before a meeting with the members of the House Ways and Means Committee, he bragged that "we've gotten A-pluses on Texas and on Florida, and we will also on Puerto Rico." And the mayor of San Juan and Puerto Rico's governor have been very "generous" in their praise of Trump, according to Trump.

He also offered this assessment of the Americans in Puerto Rico: "These are great people -- wonderful people. They're hardy people." Ah, a hardy people, ready to work your fields and build your houses, facing down the malevolent forces of nature with nary a blink. Damn, the colonial mindset is always there.

But while Trump is promising all the help in the world, which is no different than promising that his shitty steaks were delicious or that his shitty real estate deals were the pinnacle of capitalism, chances are that the White House won't formally ask for disaster funding for Puerto Rico for several weeks.

Out here in real America, in the cities where the majority of us live, we are begging for accountability for this dolt, this chintzy clown from a bankrupt circus, with his threadbare costume, his fading makeup, and his sad act so very predictable that we don't need to see how it ends. For fuck's sake, get the hook.

9/25/2017

The Rude Pundit's Biennial Fundraiser Continues: 14 Years in the Political Coal Mine

Yep, the end of this week marks 14 years of this here blog. You could go through the archives and see a rogue's gallery of motherfuckers and dickholes, some of whom you may have blocked from your Trump-addled memory.

Remember the sneer and scowl Scott McClellan, Sean Spicer's slightly more evolved predecessor?

Remember corpulent rage whisperer Richard Perle, who, with now-loved-by-liberals-with-short-memories David Frum, helped convince Americans to shit themselves over Iraq and terrorism?

Remember poor Harriet Miers, who was nominated for the Supreme Court because she was buds with W. Bush?

Through it all, this here writer has been striving to offer the finest shit-faced commentary in the blogiverse. But now I'm aching to expand to other domains.

So every two years, I do a fundraiser because, well, shit, mostly I do this for free (you see any ads?). But here are some goals for this year's donations (beyond more whiskey and weed):

- Get the right microphones and shit to make a decent-sounding podcast (yeah, another goddamned podcast, but this one'll be less douchey than most)

- Produce more videos. I wanna try to put out something once a month

- Go back to Los Angeles to do an encore of Stephanie Miller's Happy Hour podcast, where you'll get to hear me talking filthy and honestly to one of my favorite humans. Just need the scratch for the plane ticket.

While you should absolutely donate to Puerto Rico or Mexico first, if you've got some spare rubles lying around, you can hit that PayPal button over there on the side to donate (it even takes credit cards) or you can click right here.

Big thanks to everyone who's given so far from sea to shining sea and in amounts small and large.

The President and Puerto Rico: Dividing Us When We Should Come Together

I know that I should be writing about President Trump's belligerent, oafish attacks on National Football League players who take a knee during the National Anthem. I know I should point out that Colin Kaepernick and others aren't protesting the flag or the dumb, boring National Anthem, but that they are protesting police brutality and the murder of unarmed African Americans by cops. I know I should call Trump all kinds of names and make nasty references to body parts.

But, instead, when it comes to Trump, it's more important to point out that, since last Wednesday, the President of the United States has not tweeted about Puerto Rico, the American territory that was devastated by Hurricane Maria last week and Hurricane Irma before. It's more important to point out that the White House website offers no information on Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, also wrecked by storms, since a readout of a phone call with their governors from last Thursday. At a point where a real president would be uniting us behind Americans whose lives have been destroyed, Trump has chosen to divide us between people who give a shit about the goddamn American flag and people who do not.

So I'm sorry that I'm not railing on that red meat topic. Instead, I'm thinking about the families of a hell of a lot of my students. I'm thinking about the millions of loved ones of the estimated over 5 million Puerto Ricans who live in the United States mainland.

I'm thinking about how:

- About 80% of the lines that bring electricity to cities and towns were decimated by the storms, on top of the fact that all the local power lines are down. The power grid will likely need to be rebuilt from scratch. The heat index in San Juan right now is 100 degrees. 91 plus the humidity. With not even a fan. And no water pumping stations on line. Which means you can't flush a toilet. Or get a drink. Imagine for a second being without electricity for months, as people without generators will be. Imagine being without every modern convenience and more than a few necessities.

- Maria "wiped out about 80 percent of the crop value in Puerto Rico." It took out dairy barns, chicken coops, and plantations. It destroyed the roads where food is transported with debris and landslides.

- The Guajataca dam still is at risk of breaking, flooding an area where 70,000 live. Meanwhile, the streets of the cities in Puerto Rico are still flooded, days after the storm.

- Fuel is in short supply. People line up for hours to get anything for cars or generators.

- Hospitals can't guarantee that they can take in more patients, let alone take care of the ones who are there. Hospitals lack enough electricity and running water, even with generators helping.

Fox "news" personality Geraldo Rivera is from Puerto Rico, and he was able to get to the island to see how his family was doing. His assessment is stark, especially for, well, Fox: "Only an approach like the Marshall Plan that resurrected Europe in the wake of World War II can save this place known as La Isla del Encanto, the island of enchantment. Bring in the aircraft carriers; import thousands of generators. Recruit linemen from around the United States to rally to the cause of their fellow U.S. citizens. The need is dire."

A massive effort will need to be undertaken, and, to be fair, FEMA is there and helping, as much as it can. But there are very few places for planes to land, and the Navy could send a hospital ship to help. Mostly, the level of devastation is too huge to grapple with. And we're talking a population roughly seven times that of New Orleans during Katrina. Right now, the White House is talking about getting a disaster aid request to Congress in the next couple of weeks. Enough time for a whole lot of people to die. Enough time for a humanitarian crisis to overtake any efforts going on now.

Trump's refusal to discuss Puerto Rico at all this weekend while he was freely disparaging the NFL and John McCain and, of course, playing golf come across as distressingly apathetic and unsurprisingly racist. And, frankly, the media is aiding and abetting this apathy by concentrating on his bullshit tweets (it'd be one thing if CNN was using Trump's hissy fit to discuss police tactics, but, no, it's just "Trump mad. You mad, too?"). This morning, NPR didn't even mention Puerto Rico in its news round-up. The New York Times had a brief mention of an article on the bottom of the front page.

Maria would be Trump's Katrina, except very few people seem to give a damn.