Author Archives: Allison Hantschel

What To Do, What To Do

While DC’s political venture capitalists are flinging money at yet another fashion blog pretending to do news and yet another centrist jerk-off party pretending to recruit candidates, people are actually out there working: 

Kelly Sullivan, a 30-year-old restaurant server in Sioux Falls and member of LEAD, noted that rural America has long been politically diverse, but the recent surge of political activism has made it more noticeable.

“People like us in smaller places and people that are in the rural communities, we’re just the same as the big city slickers,” Sullivan said of her fellow rural activists. “The feeling that we’re not being represented, or the feeling that the current administration is doing things that we disagree with, we’re on the same page as the people who are in the big cities.”

It’s almost like there are views out there beyond “this poor white woman sitting on a porch while her kids scrabble in the dirt like chickens loves Trump because fuck you.”

If these people got Axios/Win the Future/Politico attention and money every state in the union would be bluer than Bannon’s balls right now.

A.

Boys Only Want Love When It’s Torture: Game of Thrones Thread

Apologies for not getting this up Sunday night. We moved house Saturday and then I worked all day Sunday and got home very, very late and didn’t have it in me to do more than crash on the mattress which is on the floor right now because our bed is in pieces in the garage.

Spoilers.

Continue reading

Sides

I’ve been reading about them for months now.

Trump supporters. Trump voters. Most of them in rural areas, lots of them poor.

All of them white.

I’ve been reading lots of stories about why they voted for Trump. Sympathetic stories.

And all these stories say the same thing.

I never heard anybody blame Hispanics for local crime, or make racist remarks about them; it was much more common to encounter Islamophobia, although the nearest mosque is about four hours away.

All the stories say the same thing. “Trump’s voters didn’t mention race.”

They did, though.

They are talking about race.

They don’t use the word “black” or “Hispanic.” They don’t use the epithets. They don’t say that, so we say they’re not talking about race.

When they talk about people taking from the system, though?

They’re talking about race.

When they talk about undocumented immigrants swarming over the borders taking American jobs?

They’re talking about race.

When they talk about crime, they’re talking about race. When they talk about schools, they’re talking about race. When they talk about culture, about parenting, about music, they’re talking about race.

You can almost see it, the black or brown person they imagine in their heads, the pre-arranged exception to the sweetly stated rule that of course all of us are equals before our God. You can hear it in their voices when the picture shifts and if you say you can’t you’re a liar.

White people like me go to church with white people like them. We have dinner with white people like them. We work with white people like them and you can hear it, the nastiness underlying their assumptions when they’re among people who look like them.

Every single one of them is talking about race, and every single one of them who hates Obama (not talking about disliking or criticizing Obama, talking about hating) is talking about race and we have to stop letting them off the hook, like this is some kind of big mystery.

Where did it come from? We wonder.

We have to stop acting like there are only two sides, good upstanding citizens who’d never in a million years ride in a rally like the one in Charlottesville, and the motherfucking grand wizards. We have to stop acting like this is the dichotomy: 

Sometimes I worry that I am going to end up working on a plantation, or behind a wall or in a camp, the way things are going. I have to ask about race. “People try to make us out as crazy rednecks or hood-wearing Klansmen,” a man from rural Ohio told me.

Because if that’s the dichotomy, of course the light is winning, and Hillary Clinton (or shit, even Ben Carson) is president, and when this bullshit went down yesterday the president came out and said, “Fuck this shit, wave a Confederate flag and get hanged for treason, you garbage slobs.” If the bar we’re holding people to is “not a torch-bearing Nazi,” well, lots of us pass that test.

 

Passing that test shouldn’t be enough to get you into heaven. It shouldn’t be enough to buy you sympathetic profiles in every publication imaginable. It shouldn’t get you excused from racism. Racism doesn’t have two faces. It has a thousand, including the ones in Charlottesville, but also including all those nice people who just voted for Trump because they were mad at the world, and all those nice people who just think political correctness is out of control, and all those nice people who just moved here for the schools.

Racism has a thousand sides (including the one in the mirror, let’s not kid ourselves, crackers). You’re not lighting up a tiki torch? Good for you, I guess, but don’t come over here looking for a medal when you pulled a GOP lever because Obama gave too many people extra welfare.

You didn’t have to say the n-word to talk about race. Those people in Charlottesville heard you loud and clear.

A.

Party Is Going Down Tubes, Says Member of Bottom-of-the-Tubes Party

Jeff Flake:

SO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, buttnugget! You’re a sitting U.S. senator and a member of that party. Don’t just go on Meet My Ass and loudly deplore the tone in the room as if you’re not the one with the keys to the server. Jesus H. Butter Poached Christ, these assholes, Flake and John McCain and the Dipshit Twins, Susan and Lisa, who are currently taking a victory lap for not killing their own constituents, like that’s a moral stand.

They get to go out there and have themselves a Mardi Gras for being barely human, because being barely human is bucking the Republican Party line, and nobody seems to notice that this means THE REPUBLICAN PARTY LINE WANTS TO KILL YOU. Opposing that isn’t a grand act of bravery, but all these fools want a chest full of ribbons like they’ve charged a Nazi machine gun nest.

Fuck Jeff Flake. Your party is going down the tubes? Going? Did you just sleep through the past four decades of welfare queens and charter schools and militia-fellating? You been to CPAC ever? Your modern-day party gave Confederates a soft place to land when they jumped off the Dem train after the Civil Rights Act. Going, he says, like that train ever had to leave the station.

I mean, if you wanted to grow a conscience, Jeffy, it’s not like you lacked opportunities. There was an illegal war based on bullshit that you are old enough to remember (I won’t insult all of us by implying you might have served in any of your party’s wars) but somehow THAT didn’t make you feel squishy inside. I wonder what could have changed.

Could it be … a book tour? Is that what’s gotten you all het up about the state of your party? NAH, you wouldn’t be that cynical.

And you know, as much as fuck you, Jeff Flake, fuck also everyone who is interviewing this asshole and not asking why now, why is this a bridge too far, why wasn’t “Mexican immigrants are rapists and murderers” or “grab them by the pussy” the end of this, why wasn’t the end about twenty miles back?

Just look at this trash: 

While the things he lays out in his book may well endear him to independents and even Democrats in Arizona, the radical way he takes on Trump without [sic] abandon certainly won’t help him in his first test next year: A GOP primary, where challengers — who are being egged on by the White House — are already circling.

Jeff Flake has not voted to hold Trump accountable in any way except with his stupid word hole. How “radical” is it to vote for a guy’s agenda 93 percent of the time? How is that taking on someone with abandon? He’s not abandoning shit. He’s making bank, that’s all. Get back to me when he either accepts the Resistance as his personal savior or learns his own party’s history.

A.

This Isn’t Generosity

We should stop talking about helping other people and start talking about helping everybody: 

The National Academy of Sciences’ (NAS) exhaustive literature summary on the economic effects of immigration concluded that: “When measured over a period of 10 years or more, the impact of immigration on the wages of native-born workers overall is very small.  To the extent that negative impacts occur, they are most likely to be found for prior immigrants or native-born workers who have not completed high school—who are often the closest substitutes for immigrant workers with low skills.”  Although the effect is small, RAISE seeks to take advantage of the finding in the academic literature by inferring that if an increase in the supply of workers slightly lowers some wages then a decrease in that same supply will do the opposite.

The entirety of society — rich, poor, middle-class — is served well when we have a strong economy, sensible immigration policies, reasonable worker protections and appropriate taxes. This isn’t just about being humanitarian. It’s about recognizing that the common good helps even the wealthy, as much as they bitch about every single cent they spend on the poor.

A.

We Rise Again in the Grass: Game of Thrones Thread

Spoilers, for the three of you who didn’t watch the hacked version or read the blow-by-blow spoilers that got posted.

Continue reading

Call It By Its Name

Finally: 

That white resentment simply found a new target for its ire is no coincidence; white identity is often defined by its sense of being ever under attack, with the system stacked against it. That’s why Mr. Trump’s policies are not aimed at ameliorating white resentment, but deepening it. His agenda is not, fundamentally, about creating jobs or protecting programs that benefit everyone, including whites; it’s about creating purported enemies and then attacking them.

A.

Confederates or, Who You Are in the War

Ta-Nehisi Coates: 

Storytellers have the right to answer any question they choose. But we do not need to wait to examine all the questions that are not being chosen: What if John Brown had succeeded? What if the Haitian Revolution had spread to the rest of the Americas? What if black soldiers had been enlisted at the onset of the Civil War? What if Native Americans had halted the advance of whites at the Mississippi? And we need not wait to note that more interesting than asking what the world would be like if the white South had won is asking why so many white people are enthralled with a world where the dreams of Harriet Tubman were destroyed by the ambitions of Robert E. Lee.

The problem of Confederate can’t be redeemed by production values, crisp writing, or even complicated characters. That is not because its conceivers are personally racist, or seek to create a show that endorses slavery. Far from it, I suspect. Indeed, the creators have said that their hope is to use science fiction to “show us how this history is still with us in a way no strictly realistic drama ever could.” And that really is the problem. African Americans do not need science-fiction, or really any fiction, to tell them that that “history is still with us.” It’s right outside our door. It’s in our politics. It’s on our networks. And Confederate is not immune. The show’s very operating premise, the fact that it roots itself in a long white tradition of imagining away emancipation, leaves one wondering how “lost” the Lost Cause really was.

Others with more at stake have said much of what needs saying about this garbage (we get THIS but have to wait forever for the next David Milch project) but I’d like to talk about it in the context of the reimagining of history generally and the dystopian stories of the past decade. The earth caves in, there’s a nuclear devastation or famine or a plague, and then what?

There’s always an element of wish-fulfillment in these stories, that the last-millennium skills you’ve been nurturing would come to be of value after all, that your foresight in stockpiling liquor and ammo would attract fertile females and fierce warriors to your side, that everyone who thought you were a loser in the old world would value you in the new. So many people go through life thinking they don’t matter, or can’t matter, without some fanfare and a smoking crater where their home used to be.

But in walking that line, the best of our TV stories — 12 Monkeys, Galactica, The Expanse — come back around to the point that if you say you know who you’re gonna be in the war, if you long for the war so that you can be a certain person, you’re a bankrupt idiot who has no idea about anything. You think you know who you’re going to be? You have no idea.

You think that there’s some moment, where history hinges, at which you could rise up a hero and what, prove yourself worthy of mighty deeds?

As if you don’t have those moments every single day.

Jesus tits, look around you. Are you seeing a shortage of people to save? In the past WEEK the political party leading this country in every way that matters has tried to take away chemo from sick kids, ban refugees and asylum seekers based on religion, make legal immigrants tally up their virtues to prove they need to be here, close clinics that provide breast exams to poor people, and that’s just the stuff I remember off the top of my head after two glasses of wine at the end of a very long day.

You think you need a fantasy about the South winning the Civil War in order to overthrow slavery? Every political issue group on earth is offering free blowjobs to anyone who’ll campaign for them on a dozen issues that would impact racial equality in the United States, you don’t need this fanfic. Hell, buy and donate half a dozen books by young writers of color to your local library and you’ll have done more work than you would have in front of your TV every week. I know it’s not as sexy as imagining yourself part of the super-underground Underground Railroad, but it’s necessary and good nonetheless.

If your heroic fantasy just will not be satisfied without a firefight it’s not like the local recruiting station turns people away.

We think there’s some point at which we had more at stake. Than today?

If that’s truly the case, then you already know who you are in the war you’re imagining. You’re the guy sitting on the sidelines, telling himself he’ll fight when another conflict — one worthy of his magnificent gifts — comes along.

A.

They Knew What Trump Was. They Liked It.

Everybody’s sharing this Kevin Williamson piece and it’s horseshit: 

Trump is the political version of a pickup artist, and Republicans — and America — went to bed with him convinced that he was something other than what he is. Trump inherited his fortune but describes himself as though he were a self-made man.

He has had a middling career in real estate and a poor one as a hotelier and casino operator but convinced people he is a titan of industry. He has never managed a large, complex corporate enterprise, but he did play an executive on a reality show. He presents himself as a confident ladies’ man but is so insecure that he invented an imaginary friend to lie to the New York press about his love life and is now married to a woman who is open and blasé about the fact that she married him for his money. He fixates on certain words (“negotiator”) and certain classes of words (mainly adjectives and adverbs, “bigly,” “major,” “world-class,” “top,” and superlatives), but he isn’t much of a negotiator, manager, or leader. He cannot negotiate a health-care deal among members of a party desperate for one, can’t manage his own factionalized and leak-ridden White House, and cannot lead a political movement that aspires to anything greater than the service of his own pathetic vanity.

WE KNEW ALL THAT SHIT. The GOP knew all that shit. They had oppo research on him from the primaries, they had Obama telling them Trump was likely in hock to the Russian mob, and we’re supposed to believe they were taken in by his persona? He spent all of the primaries shit-talking the GOP, telling them how much he’d bought them for, and calling them names. They were in no way unaware that he was a two-bit con man.

The GOP didn’t care, because they wanted to win. Paul Ryan wanted to repeal Obamacare and take away the benefits that made Paul Ryan possible. Mitch McConnell wanted to hold his caucus of fascists and fools together and keep dining out on his unearned reputation as some kind of master strategist. Half the Internet punditry was plenty happy to go along with Trump because they’re not very bright and TV lights are shiny, and the other half saw an opportunity to burnish their reputations by being showily against Trump without really doing anything.

His voters didn’t care because electing him let them say fuck you. Sure, you can find some Trump supporters to say they thought he was a dealmaker or a businessman, but by and large they will tell you why they voted for him: To say fuck you to a system that didn’t cater to their interests. To stick it to some imaginary liberals in the city that Fox News told them look down on their values. To break everything because breaking things feels powerful and good.

I just … I mean, did anyone in the GOP not know Donald Trump was a fucking clown after his 2012 dance of “I’m not running … but maybe … but maybe not … but BIRTH CERTIFICATE … but no?” They tried to sink him in every way they knew how and after all of that, after he accused Ted Cruz’s dad of killing JFK and called out Marco Rubio’s micropenis, they decided with full knowledge that they’d rather win with him than lose without.

We’re supposed to believe they were, what, dazzled by the flap of dead squirrel on his head? Nobody who likes Trump is under any illusions about who they’re going to bed with. To let them off the hook and cast their willful meanness as some kind of tragicomic self-delusion is more charity than I’m willing to grant after a week of phone calls to save newborn babies who need chemo.

Schmuck.

A.

How We Got Here

Whet has a fantastic history lesson for all those MAH GRANDPAPPY JUST TOOK A CHICKEN TO THE DOCTOR TO PAY bleaters out there. Most likely Gramps didn’t go to the doctor at all, even if there was a spare chicken around.

A.

What They Live On

Been saying for a while that Trump isn’t complicated. He’s hit on a line — white resentment — that sells, and he’ll keep selling it until it doesn’t work anymore: 

The condemnations began soon after Trump’s speech to law enforcement officers in Brentwood, New York, Friday, aimed at bolstering local police efforts to combat a spike in violence attributed to the Marasalvatrucha, or MS-13, gang.

“When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice,'” the president told the officers assembled at Suffolk County Community College.

“Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head – you know, the way you put their hand over – like, ‘Don’t hit their head’ and they’ve just killed somebody. ‘Don’t hit their head,'” he added. “I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?'”

That a crime wave is not caused by cops making sure a suspect doesn’t bash his head on the car hood is obvious, natch, and every police department rushed out to Twitter to be all NOT US WE’RE NOT LIKE THAT NO NO NO. Which was nice, except that there are by far more allegations of excessive force than there are of excessive kindness: 

In a statement given to People’s Law Office attorney Flint Taylor last spring, Holmes said he was taken to an Area Two interrogation room, where detectives put a plastic bag over his head. Holmes said that after he bit through the bag in order to breathe, Burge put a second bag over the first. Holmes told Taylor that he remembered hearing a crank turning and Burge saying, “You going to talk, nigger, you going to talk.”

“It feel like a thousand needles going through my body,” Holmes said. “And then after that, it just feel like, you know–it feel like something just burning me from inside, and um, I shook, I gritted, I hollered, then I passed out. . . . They put the bag back on me, took me through the same thing again. They did that I don’t know how many times. . . . I said to myself, ‘Man, he trying to kill me.’ And I thought I was dead because all I could see was blackness, and I said, ‘Man, this is it. I’m gone.’ When I looked up, they brought me back again. Burge was the one that was . . . bringing me back. Every time I come to, he be the one standing over me.

“But the point is, when you see police doing you like this here and there’s nobody there to help you, you like, ‘Man, is this real?’ You know it can’t be real. . . . But then you realize it ain’t no dream state because you started feeling this pain, just like somebody stabbing you in your heart, you know, and you fixing to die, but you won’t die. You just still there. . . . Ain’t nothing like it. It’s just like, you know, just diving in some water that’s ice-cold and it hits you at one time and it take your breath away and you get pain. It freezes you up. It’s just like somebody just cut away everything that’s inside you and there’s nothing to hold you back. . . . When they got through with me, I didn’t care what it was–if they said I killed Bob or the president or anybody, I would say, ‘Yeah, how do you want me to say this? This the way I did it? Yeah, this the way I did it.’ . . .

“When I tried to tell people that they did me like this, ain’t nobody want to listen to me. When I go to the parole board, I tell them the same thing. They look at me like, you know, ‘You got jailhouse slick.'”

Trump’s talk of empowering cops to go beat the shit out of bad guys isn’t new, of course, that’s what being the “law and order” candidate and shitting all over Chicago was always about. His natural audience is people who picture the city as a teeming mass of minority criminals ready to rise up and murder nice white families downtown for their annual matinee.

At best, he’s an old racist shithead who, like many people his age, grew up on a steady diet of crime shows set in NYC. You know what’s on TV all day if you’re not watching Fox? Law and Order. Some channel is running a marathon at all times.

His supporters watched a lot of America’s Most Wanted, and they watched a lot of NYPD Blue, and they watched and still watch hours and hours and hours of Law and Order. Twenty-four hours a day, hookers are getting strangled and dumped in alleys, and the “perps” are going free because some cop who Just Couldn’t Take It Anymore didn’t wait for a weenie judge to sign a warrant.

That’s the city to them, that place where their parents had such a nice neighborhood and You Should See It Now, it’s been ruined by Those People. Their only interaction with city police is Lenny Briscoe. And if the cops were just “unleashed” to do it like they do in the movies, well, maybe they could get something done.

“Something” being hit with a $5 million misconduct lawsuit that’s just gonna stop the cops who aren’t assholes from solving any actual problems, but that’s not the point. The point is to talk tough, not to accomplish anything.

A.

Awkward Dinner Conversations

Two things. The first is this thread, which will teach you more about what’s really at the heart of Trump’s support than a thousand New York anthropological examinations of Midwestern noble savages ever could:

The second is St. John McCain, pretending once again to be above the process he is in up to his neck, scolding his colleagues as if he could do nothing that would influence their actions:

McCain bemoaned the tone of modern politics, suggesting that wild partisanship was paralyzing the country’s political institutions and tearing the country apart.
“Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and the television and the Internet. To hell with them. They don’t want anything done for the public good — our incapacity is their livelihood. Let’s trust each other. Let’s return to regular order.”

And that’s really the heart of it all. Shit had gotten awkward at dinner, for John McCain and for a lot of the wealthier supporters of Trump and his merry band of blithering GOP dicksmacks. It had gotten awkward talking around racism and sexism and general misanthropy and it was harder and harder to find cover for one’s overall contempt for the poor. People had grown less willing to believe in the inherent good will of a party that would start an illegal war, spy on Americans, burn a black president in effigy and grab women by the pussy. The invitations must have stopped coming, or at least slowed down.

How about this, though? NOBODY IN WASHINGTON IS ELECTED TO LIKE EACH OTHER THEY ARE ELECTED TO HELP PEOPLE.

I think it’s nice that there are friendships and bromances (until today, Kerry/McCain 4 EVA). Generally I think it is good that we have a society. I think it’s good to get along with your coworkers. But not when you’re people and they’re skin sacks filled with bees. And not when it requires you to balance your need to keep your buds with your need to serve your constituents, ie do your fucking job when you’re on the clock and bump fuzzies on your own time.

The most heartbreaking thing about all of this, though? Democrats would forgive it tomorrow.

I mean the elected ones, mostly, but also a lot of the rank and file.

If it meant we could help people some more, we would forgive all the horrific things that were said and all the horrific things that were done. For two years of a campaign and the first year of his presidency Barack Obama was subjected to the most vile racist attacks in modern political history.

His response? To try to give the very people who voted against him for vile racist reasons health insurance.

For her entire life Hillary Clinton was subjected to the most vile sexist attacks it’s possible to subject a white woman to, while she served her country with distinction.

Her response? To fight to protect that health insurance.

So I have very little doubt the Democratic Party would forgive it all tomorrow and go back to trying to help people. Some of us wouldn’t forget, but we’d go right back to work. Hell, some of us are still working, dark though our prospects are, to stop this while we still can.

The civility that the GOP is disingenuously begging for? After all this, we’d give it to them. If modern dinner conversation requires that liberals hold themselves in contempt for the very things that the contemptuous public says it wants politicians to do to help them, liberals would sign up for that shit tomorrow because taking one for the team is kind of our entire THING. Our fate is your fate, bitches.

I keep hearing that the past 6 months are the fault of dumb libtard feminazi bitches like myself who impose their political correctness by banning the words “Merry Christmas” and not valuing traditional American values. If my 12-years-of-religious-ed ass agrees that you can say whatever politically incorrect shit to me that you want, can we let people keep their baby’s chemo?

I’d consider that a fair bargain. I think a lot of my fellow libtards would as well, so babies can keep their cancer treatments. So that nobody has to face a bill they can’t pay after their baby dies. I think we would let people lecture us about traditional values. I think we would let them do it and we would fucking smile.

Just let us help people, that’s all we’re asking.

After all this time.

A.

Call. Call Even If Your Senator’s A No. Call Anyway. Thank Them. If Your Senator’s a Maybe? Call Again.

No posts today. Just this.

Call your senators. They’ll vote today on a bill that who even the fuck knows, just because. They need to hear from you. They need to hear your voice.

There’s nothing I can say that’s more important than that.

A.

This is What You Voted For, Assholes

Great job. Really great, all of you: 

Mr. Jeanty, 29, came to the United States from Port-au-Prince in September 2006 with his eldest brother and stayed after his tourist visa expired. He has what is known as temporary protected status, or T.P.S., which was granted to Haitians who were visiting the United States or living here illegally when a devastating earthquake struck their homeland in 2010. T.P.S. allows him and other Haitians to live and work legally in this country, until conditions in Haiti have improved enough to return home safely.

Now, the Trump administration is monitoring earthquake recovery efforts to determine whether temporary protected status for Haitians should be terminated in January when its recent six-month extension ends.

Great job, all you comfortable suburban assholes who voted for Trump because he was gonna “get rid of all the illegals.” This is what that looks like. You think after this guy gets deported, you’ll get a better job, your kids will get a better school, your potholes will finally get fixed? You think that’s how this works?

You do, don’t you. You think your healthcare is too expensive because too many Mexicans are crossing the border to come to your emergency rooms. You think if you send all the immigrants home, your bill will automatically come down. You think it’s really like that, a tradeoff, a tit for tat, that you pay more because someone else doesn’t pay.

Jesus H. Christ, I don’t know who raised you but whoever they are, they owe you an apology because this is not how America works. It’s not how anything works.

Your kid’s school sucks because your local municipality gave away the farm to every passing corporation, promising them their taxes would stay low when your kid’s school needed those taxes. Right-wing politicians then promised your taxes would stay low, too, and instituted tax caps so schools couldn’t get money from you, either. Then they told you to blame the teachers and the unions. That’s how this works.

Your potholes don’t get filled for the same reason. Your job sucks because your company doesn’t care about adequate staffing, reasonable hours or regular wages because your company doesn’t answer to anyone anymore. Republicans told everyone regulation and minimum wages were mean, and any meaningful worker protections were too expensive, and you voted them into every statewide and national office you have.

Your healthcare is too expensive because your GOP governor rejected Obamacare and refused to expand Medicaid to cover the likes of you and yours. Your healthcare is too much of a giant pain in the ass because every time some liberal politician wanted to regulate the insurance industry the Republican moneymen paid people to scream about freedom and entrepreneurship on Fox. Plus you hated it was named after the black president, there was that, but it’s not as big a factor as the Fox money and the lack of rules.

In short, your life sucks because of Republican governance, full goddamn stop. It sucks because they did everything they told you they were gonna do. Including getting rid of all the illegals.

This guy gets deported, you look around the next day and you see. Is your life any better? Are you rich? Are you happy? Forget the morality of your position that somebody who’s here working and contributing doesn’t deserve to be here. You’re taking a hateful position and trying to justify it with practicalities and those practicalities aren’t even true.

You’re selling your soul for nothing. You’re hating people for nothing. There’s no reason good enough and your bad one isn’t real.

A.

Your Fondest Wish Comes True. THEN WHAT?

So let’s say that tomorrow Trump is indicted, impeached, frog-marched out of the White House, and his entire team including Pence and Ryan are in prison and Orrin Hatch is president.

Let’s say this happens (not a quarter of it is going to happen) and we all watch it on TV.

Then what? I mean it, then what? Like the next day what happens? We pop the champagne and assume it’s all over?

I think a lot of my fellow pale-faced liberal types are underthinking the amount of violence people of color, young people, and women are already facing because of Trump, and that’s after a VICTORY. Their whole angry worldview was validated in a national election and it’s just made them MORE angry. I didn’t think they could get more angry but they are.

These are the people arming and prepping themselves for the apocalypse, who bought an extra AR-15 just to piss those libtards off and have been stockpiling ammo since the days of that draft-dodger Bill Clinton. We all had a good time clowning on Meal Team Six back when they seized a frickin’ bird sanctuary, but put one of those assholes in a crowded room and he could mow down a movement.

Ninety percent of Trump supporters? If he’s thrown out of office they’ll be fine as long as whatever comes after him immediately gives them jobs. They’ll go to work and they’ll have less time to be pissed off. I don’t have an answer for that other 10 percent but I think we’re downplaying the threat they represent to people already feeling marginalized and targeted.

So if I seem less openly enthusiastic about the idea of impeachment or criminal proceedings against the Trump Syndicate, it isn’t because I think they’re innocent of anything. It’s because even if they’re found guilty, they won’t suffer a fraction as much as those with so much more to lose already.

A.

Look Who Just Showed Up, Everybody!

It’s the anthropologists of Real America, again, making sure we hear from a guy who carries Grover Norquist’s bags around! 

In 1997, Patterson was riding in a car that was hit by a drunk driver, and the bones of his left arm were shattered into several dozen pieces. After six surgeries, he suffered permanent nerve damage, decreased arm mobility, and no future as a closeup magician. Having acquired his G.E.D., he enrolled in classes at the University of Miami. The quality of Patterson’s writing impressed an instructor, who persuaded him to apply to Columbia. The year that Patterson turned thirty, he became an Ivy League freshman. He majored in classics. Every night, he translated four hundred lines of ancient Greek and Latin. In class, he often argued with professors and students.

“The default view seemed to be that Western civilization is inherently bad,” he told me. In one history seminar, when students discussed the evils of the Western slave trade, Patterson pointed out that many cultures had practiced slavery, but that nobody decided to eradicate it until individuals in the West took up the cause. The class booed him. In Patterson’s opinion, most people at Columbia believed that only liberal views were legitimate, whereas his experiences in Grand Junction, and his textbook lessons from magic, indicated otherwise. (“States of mind are no different than feats of manual dexterity. Both can be learned through patience and diligence.”)

“Look, I’m a high-school dropout who went to an Ivy League school,” Patterson said. “I’ve seen both sides. The people at Columbia are not smarter.” He continued, “I went to Columbia at the height of the Iraq War. There were really legitimate arguments against going into Iraq. But I found that the really good arguments against going were made by William F. Buckley, Bob Novak, and Pat Buchanan. What I saw on the left was all slogans and group thought and clichés.”

Patterson graduated with honors and a reinvigorated sense of political conviction. For the past seven years, he’s worked for conservative nonprofit organizations, most recently in anti-union activism. In 2013, the United Auto Workers tried to unionize a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, where Patterson demonstrated a knack for billboards and catchphrases. On one sign, he paired a photograph of a hollowed-out Packard plant with the words “Detroit: Brought to You by the UAW.” Another billboard said “United Auto Workers,” with the word “Auto” crossed out and replaced by “Obama,” written in red.

In Patterson’s opinion, such issues are cultural and emotional as much as economic. He believes that unions once served a critical function in American industry, but that the leadership, like that of the Democratic Party, has drifted too far from its base. Union heads back liberal candidates such as Obama and Clinton while dues-paying members tend to hold very different views. Patterson also thinks that free trade, which he once embraced as a conservative, has damaged American industries, and he now supports some more protectionist measures. His message resonated in Chattanooga, where, in 2014, workers delivered a stinging defeat to the U.A.W. Since then, Patterson has continued his advocacy in communities across the country, under the auspices of Americans for Tax Reform, which was founded by the conservative advocate Grover Norquist. “So now I bust unions for Grover Norquist with a classics degree and as a former magician,” he told me.

He’s a flack. You sent a reporter to the Real America, NewGoddamnYorker, and you found a GOP flack with a funny backstory, and you used him as an example of why Trump won. You let him say a thousand words that all boil down to racism (unions were fine until black people and brown immigrants started to benefit) and this is how Trump is transforming rural America? This asshole lives in Washington DC, no matter where he came from, and he’s paid to push a line you’ve bit on. Nice job.

The entire piece is an exercise in how to let white people avoid saying “racism,” perhaps best exemplified in this paragraph:

Before Trump took office, people I met in Grand Junction emphasized pragmatic reasons for supporting him. The economy was in trouble, and Trump was a businessman who knew how to make rational, profit-oriented decisions. Supporters almost always complained about some aspect of his character, but they also believed that these flaws were likely to help him succeed in Washington. “I’m not voting for him to be my pastor,” Kathy Rehberg, a local real-estate agent, said. “I’m voting for him to be President. If I have rats in my basement, I’m going to try to find the best rat killer out there. I don’t care if he’s ugly or if he’s sociable. All I care about is if he kills rats.”

That’s not loaded language at all when you’re a white lady talking about a candidate who campaigned on promises to boot illegal immigrants from the country.

These people similarly seem really nice:

The calculus seemed to have shifted: Trump’s negative qualities, which once had been described as a means to an end, now had value of their own. The point wasn’t necessarily to get things done; it was to retaliate against the media and other enemies. This had always seemed fundamental to Trump’s appeal, but people had been less likely to express it so starkly before he entered office. “For those of us who believe that the media has been corrupt for a lot of years, it’s a way of poking at the jellyfish,” Karen Kulp told me in late April. “Just to make them mad.”

If you think this is new, you must have slept through the last 40 fucking years. Republican legislators have been making their bones attacking journalists and universities for DECADES. Until recently, they didn’t have a compliant media machine of their own to amplify their resentments, whip them up to turn on their neighbors white and otherwise, and suppress the votes of those they thought were looking down on them.

For as long as there have been public universities and newspapers, there have been assholes attacking them as anti-American. Once upon a time, though, we didn’t mount expeditions into the assholes’ native territory with the aim of understanding the people who wanted us dead.

In Grand Junction, it was often dispiriting to see such enthusiasm for a figure who could become the ultimate political boom-and-bust. There was idealism, too, and so many pro-Trump opinions were the fruit of powerful and legitimate life experiences. “We just assume that if someone voted for Trump that they’re racist and uneducated,” Jeriel Brammeier, the twenty-six-year-old chair of the local Democratic Party, told me. “We can’t think about it like that.” People have reasons for the things that they believe, and the intensity of their experiences can’t be taken for granted; it’s not simply a matter of having Fox News on in the background. But perhaps this is a way to distinguish between the President and his supporters. Almost everybody I met in Grand Junction seemed more complex, more interesting, and more decent than the man who inspires them.

Maybe they did. But if you are truly so dim as to think that they wouldn’t seem more complex, more interesting and more decent TO YOU because YOU’RE A WHITE GUY, I have a membership to Mar-A-Lago to sell you.

They seemed better than the man they voted for? Too bad. They voted for him. I don’t care if they’re racist and uneducated in real life or if they have a bunch of graduate degrees and ten black friends, because they voted for racism and stupidity anyway.

They don’t want people looking down on them? They can fix that really easily by BEING BETTER HUMAN BEINGS.

This whole story is a mess, and the only interesting aspect of it is the idea that voting for Trump is performative, something done not to improve anyone’s life but to make the voter feel powerful and good in a world that tries to snuff such feelings out. I wonder if anyone’s ever made that point before. 

A.

Every Winter That Ever Came Has Ended: Game of Thrones Thread

She’s a wolf. Forget that at your peril.

Spoilers within.

Continue reading

Love at the Rodeo

Not everything sucks, guys. 

On the second day of the Keystone State Gay Rodeo, about 60 contestants arrived at New Holland Arena — which sits inside the massive Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex — but they weren’t alone on the grounds. Next door, a gathering of Muslims celebrated Eid al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan. On the other end of the building, whistles could be heard as hundreds of youth basketball players took part in a tournament.

The arena, though, belonged to the gay rodeo. It had been nearly a year in the making, the brainchild of Adam Romanik, 37, a cheerful cowboy from rural Pennsylvania who began participating in gay rodeos in 2009 and founded the Keystone State Gay Rodeo Association in 2015.

A.