Category Archives: Immoral Values

We have no good way to talk about this and we never have

We have no good way to talk about this and we never have.

As a good friend and feminist scholar told me when the Weinstein scandal broke, “This isn’t about sex. It’s about power. That’s why we can’t talk about it.”

And yet it is the sex that draws the attention as we discuss the imbalance of power, so the two remain inextricably linked, creating problems as we continue to have these revelations of misconduct come to light.

The latest name added to the list of groping, rubbing, jerking, fondling, grabbing and forcing is Sen. Al Franken. Leeann Tweeden came forth on Thursday with allegations of Franken groping and sexually abusing her during a USO stint. Photographic evidence and Franken’s own apology clearly supported those charges of misconduct, leading to some of the most awkward public arguments on a subject like this since Todd Akin introduced us all to the concept of “legitimate rape.”

To clarify and codify the general issue, we should consider two questions and their unequivocal answers:

Were all of the victims of Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Donald Trump, Roy Moore, Louis C.K., Al Franken and others diminished and violated by people of power?

Yes.

Have we, as a society and in many cases individuals, for too long engaged in victim blaming and illegitimate parsing of disgusting behavior like this?

Yes.

Taking these two answers as clear and definitive, we now lock this discussion into an awkward position for people who will have to answer for these actions and the people who support them.

The questions will come in droves:

“Is what Moore or Franken did rape or sexual assault or sexual misconduct or what?”

“Does the “law and order” morality of Moore make it somehow worse than what Weinstein or Franken did because, hey, they’re liberal hedonists anyway?”

“Is it worse what Spacey did to young boys or what Moore did to young girls?”

“Should Franken be forced out for one incident while Moore’s accusers are multiplying like tribbles?”

What so many people are awkwardly groping for is some sort of “sex crime conversion chart” in which one boob-grab equals two ass-pats or one photo equals three teen accusers and one signed yearbook or something. We have finally started coming to the necessary conclusion that shitty behavior is shitty behavior, but people with myriad agendas want to create a hierarchy out of these behaviors, as if hierarchy itself weren’t the reason these messes exist in the first place.

It doesn’t work that way because it’s not about sex. It’s about power.

The only demarcation reasonable people could draw is the one between adults and children. There’s a reason you can peruse 10,000 nude photos of people age 18 and older without a legal problem, but your ass will be in the joint if you own one such image of someone under that age. Society and law have dictated a bright line for most conduct involving children and to cross that line is to engage in the unforgivable.

To that end, and only that end, could a few of these acts be viewed as somehow worse than some of the others. Regardless, each and every case involved a man with power over someone he perceived as lesser and he used that to his advantage to demean and diminish that person.

Why can’t we see this? For two simple reasons:

  1. We are seeing a wide swath of accusations that range from things that “everybody” could agree are horrible and evil to well… what? If the Al Franken “grope” photo is as bad as Roy Moore trying to bone the “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret” demographic, how many men might have to look really hard at themselves? That time they got handsy at the company party? That time they catcalled a co-worker? That time they tried to “impress” the intern? How much of that happened and how does it feel to be lumped in with the Roy Moores, Anthony Weiners, Louis C.K.s and Harvey Weinsteins? The “I would never do something that despicable” becomes, “Actually you already did.”
  2. To see it, we have to talk about it and we have no good way to talk about this and we never have.

Judge Pervert’s Ten Commandments Of Love

Athenae wrote a brilliant piece yesterday about the moral, ethical, and personal aspects of the latest Roy Moore scandal. She nailed it completely so I’m going to focus on the political, legal, and semantic aspects of this shitstorm.

I’m going to try something different and do it in a way the defrocked (derobed?) judge might appreciate if it weren’t aimed at him. Moore came to national attention by placing the Ten Commandments monument seen above at the Alabama Supreme Court. He’s obsessed with the Ten Commandments even if he violates many of them, so I came up with Judge Pervert’s Ten Commandments of Love. I know I should put quotes around the word love but I don’t want to come off all air quotey like an Alabama sorority girl: they’re too old for Ole Roy, after all. Besides, love has nothing to do with Roy Moore aka Judge Pervert.

FIRST COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt vote for Doug Jones.

The easiest way to keep Judge Pervert out of the Senate is for Alabamians to vote for his Democratic opponent. Jones is a distinguished lawyer and seems to be squeaky clean. Judge Pervert is neither. Unfortunately, many white Alabamians think voting for a Democrat is akin to supporting a member of the Satanic-Communist party.

Suburban voters should think twice before sending this embarrassment on two legs to represent them in the Senate. It’s a special election: the seat is up again in 2020.

Moore is still the favorite as of now but Doug Jones has a fighting chance,

The next commandment is directed at Senate Republicans if the pervert wins.

SECOND COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt not let Judge Pervert keep his seat.

Seating a Senator is a pro forma act and a past supreme court case involving Adam Clayton Powell established that Congress must seat even corrupt members. BUT there is no provision or precedent barring the Senate from expelling an odious solon. I direct you to an excellent op-ed in the failing NYT by a law professor at the University of Alabama.

Senate Democrats should do whatever they can to force a vote on expelling Judge Pervert. It would likely lose BUT it puts GOPers on the record on the Moore issue. Imagine the attack ads: “They voted to seat a pervert. Whatever happened to the party of family values?” Politically, it’s a win-win situation.

THIRD COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt remember that Roy Moore was unfit for office *before* the WaPo sexpose.

Roy Moore is a judge who was defrocked for defying SCOTUS. He led an effort to preserve a pro-school segregation clause in the Alabama state constitution. Moore’s rap sheet on important issues is so extensive that I’m not going into details. Suffice it to say that he’s to the right of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. He’s an extremist, not a conservative.

FOURTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt remember that Alabama is a corrupt, one party state.

Alabama Republicans are divided on Roy Moore who is financially, as well as morally, corrupt. The peckerwoods and wool hats are supporting their fellow asshole extremist. Business GOPers are queasy over his candidacy but they supported Luther Strange who was up to his eyeballs in the weird sex scandal involving former Governor Bob Bentley. One party states breed corruption and produce unfit politicians.

FIFTH COMMANDMENT:  Thou shalt honor and believe the victims of perverts, rapists, and sexual harassers.

Our society is programmed to look away from allegations of gross sexual misconduct, especially when the accused is an authority figure. Clarence Thomas is a Supreme despite Anita Hill’s compelling testimony against him. BUT the timing for Roy Moore couldn’t be worse. It comes on the heels of the exposure of so many powerful men as pervy assholes. It will be interesting to see if Moore survives it like Trump or is somehow recast like Kevin Spacey. I doubt if Christopher Plummer would be willing to play Judge Pervert.

I originally planned to go all Slate contrarian on the use of the term pedophile to describe Roy Moore. The word’s clinical definition involves an attraction to pre-pubescent children, which is not Roy Moore’s thing. BUT the correct clinical term for an attraction to mid to late adolescents is ephebophilia. It’s a mouthful and on the unpronounceable side, so I’m not going to be a semantic pedant in this instance. The word pedophile is clear and pronounceable so have at it. Judge Pervert deserves no mercy, semantic or otherwise.

SIXTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt be prepared for more shoes to drop.

A former colleague of Judge Pervert had this to say yesterday on CNN:

“It was common knowledge that Roy dated high school girls, everyone we knew thought it was weird,” former deputy district attorney Teresa Jones told CNN in comments aired Saturday. “We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall … but you really wouldn’t say anything to someone like that.”

Holy Ephebophilia, Batman.

SEVENTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt remember that the publicly pious tend to be hypocrites.

Judge Pervert is the biblebanger’s biblebanger. He’s forever moralizing and sermonizing. Never trust a sanctimonious evangelical. They all have dark secrets and plans for their public redemption. Biblethumpers are big on forgiving those who agree with them. They love repentant sinners as long as they’re against abortion and gay marriage.

EIGHTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt heed the words of Doctor/Governor Dean:

Praise be unto the former party chairman who tweeteth the truth. Moore is already running against the Bezos/Amazon/Washington Post.

Hell, they’d think people from New Orleans were carpetbaggers let alone people from the North. They need scalawags who speak their own language, y’all.

NINTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt separate Sean Hannity from his advertisers.

Judge Pervert turned to the Fox News meathead in his time of woe. Hannity seems to have coached him to say the expedient thing and deny that he was interested in  teenyboppers. This has increased the pressure on Hannity’s advertisers. It’s fun to watch the Fox News meathead squirm. Squirm, Sean, squirm.

TENTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt give the last word to the pop song that inspired the post title.

There are some swell versions out there. Here are three of them. I suspect Roy Moore thinks this song is blasphemous. Fuck you, Roy.

 

 

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Rising Gorge edition

People – I’m going to have to ask you to turn the filter on your ISO suits to “OMFG!”.

Ready?

It’s time to pardon my blankie!

Pat Robertson: President Trump Should Issue A ‘Blanket Pardon’ And Shut Down Mueller Investigation
Right Wing Watch ^ | | October 30, 2017 2:55 pm | By Kyle Mantyla

Posted on 10/30/2017, 2:10:12 PM by drewh

On “The 700 Club” this morning, televangelist Pat Robertson reacted to the news that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had been indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller by calling on President Trump to issue a blanket pardon of everyone who might be implicated in the probe and to then shut down the investigation entirely.

Robertson claimed that Mueller’s investigation has been inexorably “tainted” by the fact that the Clinton campaign and DNC reportedly helped to fund an opposition research dossier during the campaign that alleged connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, insisting that any indictments that result from the Mueller’s investigation must therefore be dismissed and the investigation quashed.

Trump “can grant a pardon to everybody involved in this thing if he wants to,” Robertson said. “This whole thing has got to be shut down … He has every right to shut Mueller down and say, ‘You have gone as far as you need to and I have instructed my Justice Department to close you down.’”

“He can grant a blanket pardon for everybody involved in everything and say, ‘I pardon them all, it’s all over, case closed,’” Robertson continued. “I think that is what he needs to do … He’s got to shut this thing down, he’s just got to.”

1 posted on 10/30/2017, 2:10:12 PM by drewh
The unified “Four legs good, two legs BETTER chant starts immediately :
To: drewh

 

I for one would LOVE to see him issue some “F-U” pardons, just to watch the dems heads explode.

17 posted on 10/30/2017, 2:37:56 PM by qwerty1234

FacebookPissLiberalsOff
To: drewh

 

Yes, this should be done immediately. Robertson on target yet again.

22 posted on 10/30/2017, 2:55:40 PM by Max Tactical (MAGA Style!)

And then something very strange starts happening :
To: drewh

 

Shut up, Pat.

11 posted on 10/30/2017, 2:25:25 PM by Fido969 (In!)

To: drewh

 

I wouldn’t be taking advice from Pat Robertson. He’s been saying some wacky things in recent years.

13 posted on 10/30/2017, 2:28:24 PM by Buckeye McFrog

To: drewh
Pat needs to shut it.

Shouldn’t he be retired by now anyway? Somewhere OUT of the limelight, enjoying his great great grandchildren?

15 posted on 10/30/2017, 2:36:17 PM by softengine
You guys realize that G_d is gonna get ya for that, right?
To: drewh
That’s some terrible advice there.I read the entire 31 page indictment, and it is clear that he has been doing as charged, large scale money laundering, hiding assets in foreign banks, lying to mortgage companies.

All of this happened well before he was hired by Trump, who hired him for a particular job, and fired him only two months later, when that job – delegate wrangling – was complete.

Perhaps Mueller should resign, but I don’t see any reason for Trump to support Manafort – who is merely a common criminal who got caught.

(snip)

Manafort knew damn well he was cheating his taxes for years, he just thought he was too smart and well connected to ever get caught.

No sympathy from me, and I hope none from Trump either.

9 posted on 10/30/2017, 2:23:44 PM by Jack Black
Another Freeper corrects him :
To: Jack Black
All of this happened well before he was hired by Trump, who hired him for a particular job, and fired him only two months later, when that job – delegate wrangling – was complete.

Manafort worked for the Trump campaign from March 29 to August 19 of 2016, about four-and-a-half months.

And the indictment states that “In order to hide Ukraine payments from United State authorities, from approximately 2006 through at least 2016, Manafort and Gates laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships, and bank accounts.” So while he may have started well before he was hired by Trump, Manafort’s criminality appears to have continued while he was working for the campaign.

18 posted on 10/30/2017, 2:42:12 PM by drjimmy
Picky, picky, picky.
Which brings me to what is possibly the best reply to The Darnold’s deranged tweets EVAR!
TrumpCrime
.
Damn.
.
I know you good people are here expecting to hear about the Freeperati reaction to a certain kiddie sex lover – well, follow me below the “read Moore”…
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If She Was Your Daughter

Do you know how many women I know, who told their fathers? Who told their mothers, their friends, a “trusted adult” that they were being hurt or had been hurt? Do you know how many of these people, who have daughters, did nothing?

Homeless shelters are full of girls and boys whose parents chose their abusers over them. It happens every day.

Let me tell you what they’d do, these upstanding Republican congressmen, if it was their daughters.

They’d say to their girls, their beloved girls who they taught to throw a ball just like a boy and who they said could do anything a man could do and whose report cards they pinned to the fridge, they’d say:

You’re making that up.

They’d say:

He didn’t really mean it.

They’d say:

You led him on.

 

They’d say:

You should forgive him.

You know why they’d say those things to the girls they read bedtime stories to every night? You know why they’d back down in the face of someone who bullied their own flesh and blood?

Because nothing matters more than the status quo.

Do you know how many of these men have already faced the fact that it was their daughters?

Do you know how many of them did nothing?

I can even understand it, you know. It’s a human instinct to protect your relationships, and so you gamble: You call out a man for hurting your child, he might leave. He might cause trouble for you. He might get you fired or fight you or find a way to make you less, turn all your friends against you, refuse to work with you, tell others and embarrass you.

Your daughter? She will probably stay. She will probably quiet down. She will probably stop talking about it.

She will probably minimize what happened in her own mind and minimize it for you, so that her relationship with you can stay intact. Nothing’s worth destroying your relationship with your family, after all. She’s been socialized since birth to provide for men’s comfort and that means comfort of mind as well as body.

You can hear her telling herself: She survived it. It wasn’t that bad.

It’s a much safer bet, to discount her version of events, so that’s your solution. It keeps everything the same. It keeps everybody comfortable. And she stays. And she feels just a little less important to you, and a little less real, because whether you think about it in these terms or not, you’ve demoted her. She was your daughter.

Now she’s just another woman, another wicked female, who you don’t believe.

So when someone who looks just like her goes on the news and tells everyone that a member of a political party you admire and identify with, or a celebrity you like, tried to assault her, hurt her, rape her, you don’t see your daughter.

You see someone who’s trying to do what your daughter tried to do. Upset everybody. Get attention. Get something out of this.

And if you face the facts and say out loud that this didn’t have to happen to this stranger, this girl you don’t know on TV who’s accusing a man who looks and acts just like you, is in politics just like you, if you say out loud that someone should have stood up for her, should have done something?

Then you face the facts and say out loud that this didn’t have to happen to your daughter, and you should have stood up for her. You should have done something.

And oh, then doesn’t the whole nice polite reasonable world come crashing down?

I said back when Trump and Billy Bush were cackling about grabbing women by the pussy that the most insidious person on that bus wasn’t Trump but Billy, because lots of of guys wouldn’t be the bully but they would be the coward who laughed at his jokes.

They wouldn’t react differently if Roy Moore had hurt their daughter. Chances are someone like him already did, and they didn’t believe her.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

Swing Landscape by Stuart Davis.

We finally had a chilly day this week. New Orleanians tend to overdress when it cools off so there were many coats, sweaters, and scarves about town. This cold-ish snap is another example of how extreme the weather has been this year: the first cold weather doesn’t usually arrive until around Thanksgiving. I am opposed to turning on the central heat until November but dragged out the space heaters. It warmed up yesterday, but it’s going to be cold today. We’re back on the autumnal weather yo-yo. So it goes.

The big local story is the precipitous fall of celebrity chef John Besh. Picayune restaurant critic Brett Anderson spent 8 months investigating charges of sexual harassment in Besh’s empire. The story landed last weekend and Besh has resigned from his company and lost two casino based locations. I’d heard that he was a hound and a creep but hadn’t heard how systematic the problem was. The timing couldn’t have been worse for Besh since it followed the Weinstein revelations.  I am trying out a new word to describe the outing of sexual harassers: Beshed. It probably won’t catch on but if it does, you heard it here first.

Another big local news story popped up as I was Oddsing and Sodsing. It’s a flap involving  mayoral frontrunner LaToya Cantrell, her use of city credit cards, and the heavy-handed intervention of District Attorney Leon Cannizzarro who is supporting her opponent. So much for that campaign being dull. It’s New Orleans politics in all its seedy glory but I’m going to save it for the Bayou Brief. I’ll let y’all know when my column drops. I’m uncertain if it will be Ionic, Doric, or Corinthian. Corinthian leather?

Now that I’ve incited the wrath of Khan, let’s move on to this week’s theme song. It was composed by Charles Mingus in honor of his friend the great jazz sax player, Lester (Prez) Young.

Here are three versions for your enjoyment. First, Charlie’s original instrumental followed by Joni Mitchell who added lyrics for her Mingus album in 1979. Finally, a guitar driven version by Jeff Beck from his Wired album:

Now that we’ve tipped our pork pie hat to the great Lester Young, it’s time to say goodbye and jump to the break or something like that. Sometimes I even confuse myself.

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Bottom Of The Barrel

I decided to let the John Kelly-Frederica Wilson flap marinate over the weekend before chiming in. I thought that something that started as a diversion from the mess in Niger might fade or that General Kelly would take the advice of medal of honor winner Colonel Jack Jacobs and apologize to Wilson for smearing her. If Kelly were really the moderate, competent man depicted by the MSM, he would have done so. Instead, he’s stuck by the lie he told about her while conceding that Trump said what Wilson said he said to Sgt. Johnson’s widow. (That’s a lot of saids in one sentence, he said.) Trump continues to deny it and spent the weekend depicting Rep. Wilson as a wacky hat-wearing nutjob as if she were a character on a bad sitcom.

What we’ve learned about John Kelly is that he’s a more polished version of his master. He views Rep. Wilson as a three-time loser: a black female Democrat who deserves derision for doing what he himself did, which was to listen in on Trump’s now infamous phone call to Myeshia Johnson. They both had permission to do so but as far as Kelly is concerned a mere civilian should not have intruded whereas he has the right as a retired General.

There were many disturbing things about Kelly’s press conference but one of the worst was this ode to an America that never existed:

It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation. Absolutely stuns me. And I thought at least that was sacred. You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That’s obviously not the case anymore as we see from recent cases. Life — the dignity of life — is sacred. That’s gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well.

Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer. But I just thought — the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred.

This sounds like either a bar room screed from an angry old white dude  OR  something overheard at a Trump rally. Women are sacred as long as they know their place, which Rep. Wilson clearly does not. Plus, she’s an uppity black woman who dares to blaspheme against a commander-in-chief who is better described as the pussy-grabber-in-chief. In Kelly’s world view, criticism of Trump is criticism of the troops. This is, of course, nuts as was Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ admonition:

“If you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that is something highly inappropriate.”

First, he’s a retired General. Second, debate is what one does in a democracy. Third, when did John Kelly become sacrosanct in a way that Generals Grant, Pershing, Eisenhower, or MacArthur never were? One would think that a Marine could take the heat, especially one who works for Donald Trump who is a screamer as well as a liar.

Like everyone else with any common decency, I was appalled by this mendacious and dehumanizing passage from Kelly’s presser:

And a congresswoman stood up, and in the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there and all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building, and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money, and she just called up President Obama, and on that phone call he gave the money — the $20 million — to build the building. And she sat down, and we were stunned. Stunned that she had done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned.

We subsequently learned that Rep. Wilson said nothing remotely like this and even if she had, it would not be improper. It’s the height of hypocrisy and the epitome of Trumper projection for the chief of staff to the braggingest man in the country to denounce someone else for braggadocio. Hypocrisy is one of the few things Team Trump is good at. I guess Kelly decided to play to their strength. #sarcasm.

I googled the phrase “empty barrel” since I was unfamiliar with it. It’s a surprisingly highfalutin reference for a man who works for a fucking moron:

Many credit Plato for bringing “empty barrel” into the vernacular: “An empty vessel makes the loudest sound, so they that have the least wit are the greatest babblers.” Some believe the proverb truly has Jamaican origins, while others credit it as Spanish. A book of world proverbs gives 21 variations of the expression.

Shakespeare channeled Plato in Henry V, writing, “I never heard so loud a voice issue from such an empty heart. It’s true what they say, the empty vessel makes the greatest sound.”

In short, it was Plato’s way of calling a loudmouth a loudmouth. That would make Trump the emptiest vessel of all. The odds of Trump knowing who Plato was are slim. He probably confuses Plato with Play-Doh…

Rep. Wilson has called Kelly’s use of the term empty barrel racist and, in context, it certainly is. It’s part of a pattern displayed by Trump and his lackeys of demeaning and dehumanizing minority and female critics. Trump and Kelly have sparingly used the names of Rep. Wilson and Myeshia Johnson while attacking them. They see them as uppity black women who should remain nameless because they don’t matter. So much for women being sacred.

There are many dreadful lessons to be learned from this dreadful mess. First, Team Trump’s response is the best illustration yet of its authoritarian proclivities, which is brilliantly explained in Masha Gessen’s eerily titled New Yorker piece, John Kelly and the Language of the Military Coup. Second, this is another example of this administration’s tendency to distract attention from a problem with something that is equally bad. I don’t recall anyone attacking gold star families before the Insult Comedian began running for office. As far as he’s concerned, it’s okay if they’re Muslim or African-American. Finally, Donald Trump is only president* of people who voted for him: nobody else matters. The fact that Frederica Wilson is a Johnson family friend means that they are not worthy of Trump’s compassion.

John Kelly is the latest in a long line of Trump dignity wraith. Trump is toxic: he destroys everything and everyone he touches. It conjures up another barrel related image: everyone who associates with Donald Trump sinks to the bottom of the barrel and becomes the dregs of our polity.

Quote Of The Day: Movie Monsters Edition

I’m not talking about scary clowns, vampires, or reanimated monsters, I’m talking about monsters who make the movies.  One of the best things I’ve read about the Harvey Weinstein scandal, or as I call it Shitstorm Harvey, was written by Lindy West for the failing NYT:

It is unclear what possessed Woody Allen, of all people, to comment on the accusations of sexual predation against Harvey Weinstein, when he could have just not said anything, not expressed sympathy for an alleged serial rapist, not accused long-silenced women who said they were sexually assaulted of contributing to “a witch hunt atmosphere” and not felt compelled to issue a pouty follow-up statement in which he didn’t apologize but, in fact, reiterated how “sad” he feels for Weinstein because Weinstein is “sick.”

I’m kidding! It’s totally clear why Allen would issue such a statement — why he wouldn’t hesitate to include the astonishing confession that “no one ever came to me or told me horror stories with any real seriousness,” implying that people did tell him about Weinstein but he, with that odd omniscience native to the very rich, deemed them insufficiently serious. It’s also totally clear why Allen felt untouchable enough to add that even if he had believed the “horror stories,” he wouldn’t have been interested, let alone concerned, because he is a serious man busy making serious man-art. He said people wouldn’t bother coming to him anyway, because, as he described it: “You’re not interested in it. You are interested in making your movie.” (That last bit is fair, actually. If I’d been sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein, literally my last instinct would be to go to Woody Allen for help.)

It’s clear because the cultural malfunction that allows Allen to feel comfortable issuing that statement is the same malfunction that gave us Allen and Weinstein in the first place: the smothering, delusional, galactic entitlement of powerful men.

We already knew that monsters can make great films. Roman Polanski has. Woody Allen has. Harvey Weinstein has. I can still watch Woody Allen’s old movies with *some* enjoyment but I’ll never like them quite as much as I once did. For 25 years, Allen was my favorite film director even though hints of his perviness showed up in movies such as Manhattan. I think he’s made one good film in the 21st Century. At this point it doesn’t matter, his name has quite deservedly been dragged through the mud and I’m inclined to think that a guilty conscience has something to do with his artistic decline. I would hope that a man with his talent would have a conscience but it’s hard to tell as he natters on about witch hunts. STFU, Woody.

As to Harvey Weinstein, he’s a disgusting pig who was widely known as an asshole’s asshole before the shit hit the fan. It’s quite fitting that Ronan Farrow wrote one of the Shitstorm Harvey  exposes. He’s allegedly Woody Allen’s bio-son but, damn, he looks like Mia Farrow’s ex-husband Frank Sinatra. I’d rather have Frank in my gene pool than Woody any day.

The #metoo discussion that has popped up online in the wake of  Shitstorm Harvey has been moving and seems to be leading to a more open discussion of sexual harassment and assault. It seems that most women of my acquaintance have, at the very least, been subjected to unwanted groping.  It’s a sad commentary on the world and it’s been going on long before any of us were around. I hope that the open dialogue sparked by this will lead to improved behavior on the part of many men. I have no illusions that all men will pay attention but if there are fewer Woodys and Harveys out there, the world will be a better place.

My parents were conservative in many ways but my brilliant and accomplished mother was an instinctive feminist.  As a successful professional woman, she taught me by example that women could do anything and should be treated with respect. My father was sexist in some ways BUT he taught me to keep my hands to myself and treat women with respect and old-fashioned courtesy or as he liked to say, “be a gentleman, not a bum.” Bums groped, gentlemen did not.

The Jayhawks get the last word with a song that bids adieu to monsters of all types:

Swastikas & Pride Flags Are Not Equal Opposites

Speaking of free speech abstractions and people buying into their own bullshit:

Fuckin’ fuck’s sake. These aren’t opposing points of view:

Nazi wearing swastika: I want everyone who isn’t Aryan to die.

Gay person wearing a Pride flag: I would like to be able to live my life free of persecution and systemic inequality.

DO WE REALLY NOT SEE THE GODDAMN DIFFERENCE? Angus’s mentions are full of idiots who don’t. Intentions matter, and power structure matters, and incitement matters, and don’t throw antifa in my face until you can point to the number of concentration camps run by antifa and the number of congressmen who take money from antifa-sympathizing groups.

The only thing Nazi speech and antifa speech have in common is that both are produced by moving your mouth.

A.

 

It’s About To Get Bad Again. And Again. And Again.

Here we go again: 

In releasing a revised version of their legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham, along with co-sponsors Dean Heller and Ron Johnson, claimed that their bill isn’t a “partisan” approach and doesn’t include “draconian cuts.” In reality, however, the Cassidy-Graham bill would have the same harmful consequences as those prior bills. It would cause many millions of people to lose coverage, radically restructure and deeply cut Medicaid, and increase out-of-pocket costs for individual market consumers.

As I was thinking about having to fight this again, when we’ve already defeated it twice (three times if you count the popular vote last fall), I went back through the Twitter hole and found this:

Listen to that. Listen to that roar. And be glad for the fight, because every day we’re still fighting is a day we ain’t dead.

There’s joy in the fight. To say that sounds like I’m trivializing it, like this middle class white chick is having a great time out there playing SJW, hippie-chic weekender posing for Instagram photos on stolen ground.

But there are lots of people out there who can’t fight, themselves. Who can’t show up. Who can’t come to the protest or sit all night in the congressman’s office or spend a morning making phone calls or hold up a sign. Who have jobs they can’t leave, or disabilities that limit their movement or speech, or lives they can’t risk by resisting.

If you can, that’s a kind of privilege, too, and you owe it to them not just to march but to march loudly, to make a big noise, to remind those sumbitches that they haven’t killed us yet. They haven’t made us small and they haven’t made us scared. Pissed, sure, that we have to do this AGAIN, but not miserable. Not beaten. Not tired.

A colleague said to me not long after the election that joy had to be part of our politics, and I’ve been puzzling over it ever since, and I think what I’ve come around to thinking about is that we think of joy like we think of prayer, as a feeling, a passive state of being, instead of as active and purposeful work.

There’s joy in the fight, in putting your hands to the task and knowing you’re giving what you’ve got in the direction you can go. And if you do get tired, if you are beaten down, if the noise you wanna make starts sound less like a joyful one and more like a dirge, just listen to the roar of the people in that video, who fought so hard and won. Listen to that sound, my country tis of thee America, because it’s our national motherfucking anthem.

Raise your voice and sing along.

A.

Mortally Wound Something, Then Say It’s Dying

It’s the GOP playbook: 

The truth is that most people don’t know the open enrollment dates, and they don’t know that the deadline this year is December 15 — not January 31, like last year. They don’t know that by shopping on Healthcare.gov they are likely to find a plan that costs less than a $100 a month. I know this, because my office produced reams of data that proved the overall effectiveness of outreach advertising.

Signing up for health care is a big decision, especially for those who have never had health insurance. People think it’s out of reach, that they can’t afford it, that it’s just too difficult — or they’re young and healthy, so why bother? And the ongoing public debate about repeal has only added to the confusion. So it’s no surprise some people will throw up their hands and roll the dice, betting they won’t getting too sick or too injured.

Advertising, backed up by an informative website and in-person assistance, can help people grasp that health coverage under the ACA may be more affordable than they think, leading them to sign up.

This shit isn’t magic. I know everybody thinks that with the Internet all you have to do is put something “out there” and everyone will flock to it but news fucking flash, lots of people aren’t online constantly, lots of poor sick people aren’t online especially, the communal computers at the library don’t have a waiting list because high-speed Internet is available everywhere, and basically this is like the least dumb thing we could be spending our money on.

You have to go where people are, and you have to pay for that. I wish there was a way around it. God knows lots of things would be easier without money, such as food and shelter and actual health care, but right now where we are is so fucked that it’s going to require buckets of money to pull us out.

I started thinking the other day about all the damage Trump is doing, and that the GOP has done over the past 40 years, destroying most of all the will to preserve the common good. I know so many rich/middle class people who genuinely believe paying taxes is like some kind of favor they do for poor people, like they don’t get roads and snowplows and parks out of it, like the water just comes out of the tap by magic. It’s become so easy, in our politics-as-persecution-theology, to imagine ourselves alone.

It’s going to take buckets of money to pull us back from that and our Dem leadership is so shitass scared of being accused of GIVING ALL YOUR MONEY TO THE BLACKS that they’re willing to bend over for every tax incentive that lifts its skirt, but not willing to be honest about how much shit costs AND how much we should be willing to shoulder those costs because of the benefits. Heaven forfend we appear to be on the side of the widow, the orphan, and the goddamn parents just trying to figure out how to buy milk.

Building things costs money. Flood remediation costs money. Healthcare costs money and I’m about done hearing that we should just GoFundMe every single disaster instead of using the giant GoFundMe mechanism known as government to get some shit done.

A.

Who We Picture

Yuuuuuup: 

We find that white Trump supporters randomly exposed to a black (versus a white) man in the context of soliciting their support for a housing-assistance policy were more opposed to the policy, angrier about the policy, and more likely to blame beneficiaries for their situation.

This is what comes of 40 years of screaming about “welfare queens” and dismantling the common good in favor of the wealthy while pretending the only people who worked hard were white people. My fellow palefolks can only get behind something if it looks like something they might get. If someone else might get it, and that person doesn’t look like them? Nah.

I swear this blanket resentment is a bigger sickness than the warmongering and that’s a pretty deep sickness.

A.

Fix The Lack of Lefty Media First

Wonkette Editrix speaks for me:

Look, we all spend days and weeks and months debunking Trump nonsense and making fun of bad Dem messaging and … I’m not immune, okay, to what this whole entire blog of mine is about, but Rebecca up there is right. The right funds its embarrassing Pajamas Media Assrocket Hannidate shit endlessly no matter how bad it is or how much stick they take, because the InfoWars pipeline eventually leads to the nightly news and the Oval Office, and they understand the long goddamn game.

The Professional Left? We’re mostly out here hooking for HoHos and hoping our day jobs don’t disappear so that we can keep personally subsidizing such unimportant liberal ideas as “science is real” and “we should give poor children food.” There are at least half a dozen liberal bloggers who, with a decent salary from some middling organization with a vague name, would be alive right now. Some of my friends died sick and broke and they were worth a thousand Hindrakers.

And while I agree with this in principle:

Nothing MATTERS until the media disparity is remedied. I mean, my personal desire would be for Ye Olden Investors to put some of their apparently limitless cash into local newspapers instead of letting wingnut chains buy them all up and gut them. But the current state of things means that even if Dems come up with the smartest possible slogan, the most damning of all possible Trump smoking guns, the most detailed plan to help every last man, woman and child in the Sainted Working Class, how the unholy living fuck is anybody even gonna know?

America right now is out there saving itself from drowning and burning, but you turn on Fox News and this is the sort of shit you read. If all there is is Fox, and Fox ain’t covering your shit, and Fox is pretending Trump is the best president EVAR!!11! and your Republican governor is a job-creating dynamo, no plan makes a difference.

It’s why Trump debunkings just annoy me now. Nobody’s even hearing them.

Nobody HEARD Hillary’s detailed social and economic policy proposals. Nobody heard Bernie’s, either, not really, and wouldn’t have if he was the nominee, don’t kid yourselves. Whatever hairdo with money we nominate next time will get the same treatment no matter how many cheesesteaks they make J.D. Vance watch them hork down. They’ll propose Universal Basic Income and every podiatrist’s office in the Midwest will be blaring SENATOR LIBERAL Q. CHILDRAPIST WANTS TO GIVE YOUR MONEY TO THE BLACKS.

People don’t just wake up one day and change the channel. Fox News for DECADES built its brand and didn’t care that its ratings sucked and didn’t care that everyone laughed and didn’t care that nobody cared about the stories they were covering. For 40 years, the Right has been subsidizing faux-bestsellers and taking over local opinion pages and funding things called “LifeZette” and holding conferences where they make stars out of any tit that can string a complete sentence together.

They’ve done that so we can be where we are now: With fully 60 percent of the county hearing a narrative that places white resentment and nationalist propaganda above any semblance of the common good. That can’t continue.

We’ve gotta build stuff, and we gotta make peace with the fact that 90 percent of it is going to be shit, for a long long time. We’ve gotta stop chasing them and start going where they’re not. Sure, Verrit is run by a Hillary stan and seems on its face like a solution to a problem nobody has. WHO FUCKING CARES? Let it suck. The lesson here is to fund the next thing, that doesn’t suck as much, and the one after that which is mediocre, and the one after that which is pretty good, and the one after that which is great.

I mean, we can keep going the way we’ve been going, and hope that if our August Traditional Media just assign the right emoji or number of Pinocchios to Trump that he’ll magically resign and end the GOP across the country by fiat, but that doesn’t seem to be working out so well for us at the moment.

A.

The Buck Passer In Chief’s DACA Debacle

We all knew it was coming. We all knew that Donald Trump would rescind DACA. I actually believe that he has qualms about ending the program, not because he “loves the dreamers,” but because even he understands the optics of rounding up some 800K young people and deporting them. The title of Josh Marshall’s blog post after the announcement says it all:

Trump Wishes Dreamers Luck as He Tosses Them Out of the Plane

As does this passage in Josh’s post:

What the President is doing is the executive action equivalent of flying the plane up to 10,000 feet, tossing the Dreamers out the door and yelling after them, “I hope you have a parachute or if you don’t that Paul Ryan can get you one really fast!’ Actually, one small difference. He had Jeff Sessions toss them out of the plane.

Yowza.

Trump the phony tough guy  once again proved his cowardice by having true believer white supremacist Jeff Beau make the announcement.  As always, Jeff Beau prevaricated and demonized his way through the statement. I’m surprised he didn’t gleefully rub his hands together in celebration like a cartoon villain. Bigots like Jeff Beau have much to celebrate: mass deportations of service people, first responders, teachers, and on and on and on. DACA has a rigorous vetting process so its beneficiaries are the best of the best. I doubt many people at the Trump White House could pass muster. Slumlord Jared would have to amend his form because he’s such a forgetful boy.

What Trump has done is to punt this clusterfuck to the Congress. The six month deadline is an arbitrary one and major legislation rarely passes both houses in six months or less. The president’s* sole aim is to accept as little responsibility as possible for this heinous and callous action. Feral Trumpers will howl in approval but this is yet another incredibly unpopular move done solely to placate the MAGA Maggots.

There *may* be majorities in both Houses of Congress to pass a new Dream Act. I’m uncertain if there’s a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and dubious that it can get past the so-called Hastert Rule in the House. The rule named for Coach Pervert applies to the Republican caucus: only legislation with majority support in the caucus reaches the floor. There are enough nutbars and white nationalists to keep it off the floor UNLESS the GOP leadership gets around a rule named for a convicted felon. It’s a caucus rule, not a law, after all. Stay tuned but I am not optimistic. Speaker Ryan is as cowardly as the Insult Comedian.

The administration* is sending mixed messages about its DACA debacle. Trump is holding out hope of a change in plans but nobody believes anything he says about anything. If LBJ had a so-called “credibility gap” on Vietnam, Trump has a credibility canyon on everything. I put more stock in a White House memo telling dreamers to prepare for deportation.

A detestation of buck passing was instilled in me as a child. I always got in more trouble with my parents if I deflected responsibility for my words and deeds. They went easier on me if I fessed up and took the blame. Donald Trump is incapable of taking responsibility for his actions. It’s never his fault, the finger of blame always points elsewhere.

Trump’s perennial buck passing made me think of Harry Truman who famously had “the buck stops here” sign on his White House desk. This is Trump’s second pairing with a man whose ass he is not fit to wipe. Trump’s stunning 2016 electoral college victory surpassed Truman’s 1948 shocker as the biggest upset in American political history. Thanks to the DACA debacle, Trump is now fated to be the anti-Truman. Just call him the Buck Passer in Chief.

A new nickname has been born. And a new benign earworm has hatched. Let’s hope it doesn’t come true.

I’ll give the last-ish word to the late Ted Kennedy. It’s the closing passage of his 1980 speech to the Democratic convention. It is *not* about the dreamers but it could be:

For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

It’s time for people to both hit the streets and call their GOP Congresscritters. Make the fuckers squirm like the worms they are.

Just To Be Mean

There’s no reason for any of this.

DACA recipients aren’t taking jobs, they aren’t criminals, they aren’t hurting anyone. They’re working or going to school, they’re paying taxes, serving in the military, doing what we tell everybody a Good American and a Good Immigrant should do, and we’re gonna deport them just ’cause.

This is the fuck-you administration. TTo kick the weaker kid, to laugh along with the bully so the bully won’t bully you. Undo everything Obama did because it’s fun to pick on the black president these people hate, smack immigrant kids around because they can’t fight back.

Part of the frustration in dealing with this administration’s supporters comes from the attraction they have to this kind of bullying. I made the drug addict comparison a few months ago, with regard to the steady diet of meanness and hate people consume through their TVs and radios, and how that hate means more to them than their children and their friends.

It’s hard to argue with someone’s weakness, because their weakness is their fear, and you can’t argue someone out of a fear. They have to decide to take the leap to not be afraid of the bullies anymore, to not go along with whatever the meanest, loudest guy in the room is saying. Until they do, we’re going to keep looking for reasons they’re doing what they’re doing, when there isn’t a reason.

It’s just to be mean.

A.

‘Please help us she a new born’

Why didn’t they evacuate?

We’re really gonna do this, huh?

Okay.

Three weeks after Kick was born I was so debilitated by physical pain, sleep deprivation and postpartum depression I could hardly breathe. The only places I had ever taken her were the doctor’s office and the grocery store, the latter over Mr. A’s terrified objections and my throat-constricting fear. I was still holding her gingerly, afraid I was going to hurt her walking from the kitchen to the living room and back again. That was as far as we got most days, back then.

The idea, even if we’d had the means, of putting her and our pets and everything important to us in a car and going to a hotel/motel/shelter/God knows where … I had the best-outfitted nursery on the planet, guys, with every modern convenience, and I thought I was gonna kill the baby all the time. I would 100 percent have stayed in that house until the waters rose over my head.

Why didn’t they evacuate? I don’t know what happened to empathy in this country, I really don’t. Do you have $500? In cash, right now, on you? Can you get it? Because that’s how much it will cost to get out for a day, even if you can, and you have no idea what you’ll come back to, or if you can come back, or when. Think about what it would be like to live like that, every single day, that close to the bone, and then think about what it would be like in a catastrophe.

You know what, forget empathy. Let’s try asking what happened to intelligence. Why didn’t you listen when every climate scientist and every environmentalist and everyone who understood public policy told you that wrecking the planet and underfunding public infrastructure would lead nowhere good? When three one-hundred-year storms hit in 12 years, why didn’t you pay attention then?

Or let’s try asking what happened to responsibility. What is our responsibility to that baby? What is our responsibility to her mother? What is our responsibility to one another? That person made choices you can armchair quarterback or did things you think you wouldn’t do? That doesn’t answer the question. What is our responsibility? To ourselves?

I keep seeing comments about how inspiring it is to see the kindness of strangers coming together to save who we can; that used to be what we called government, before government was a bad word, before it was everyone for himself, before saving people was a favor you did. Before you had to hope some stranger somewhere was kind. Before there were strangers, instead of fellow citizens, bound by contract, each to each. Our fate is your fate.

“Please help us she a new born.”

She’s safe now. Thousands aren’t, or won’t be.

And you can make yourself feel better about that, by saying they should have evacuated, or you can look at that baby and see your own baby, or yourself. You can push away the nagging feeling that you should do something by loudly making shit up about nonexistent scenarios in which you did everything right, or you could do what you’ll need done for you someday. Life isn’t a vending machine, no one makes perfectly sensible choices, babies are born in storms and saved by strangers.

As are we all.

A.

Fuck You Nation: “No, NEVER!” edition

 
(NO NEVER! Hardly ever? FUCK YOU!)

I coined the term “Fuck You Nation” a few years back in looking at how people treat one another in the age of Donald Trump. So many people are less about being able to formulate something they favor, but they’re very clear about the “hey, fuck you” mentality they possess. In other words, people were less “pro” something and more “fuck you” toward people they saw as “the opposition.” At the core of the argument was a general sense of self-righteousness, absolute certainty and an overwhelming sense of anger and bile.

This week, the only thing Donald Trump has ever said that was true emerged once again. He famously noted that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not lose his supporters. We essentially hit that point this week, when he failed to denounce Nazis, then was kind of forced to read a “Ryan Leaf apology” on the topic and then went off the rails the next day defending the Nazis and admonishing the “alt-left.”

If anything, ANYTHING was going to sink him in at least SOME voters’ minds, this would HAVE to be it, right? Mitch McConnell came out against him. The “Bush Pack” came out against him. A growing list of Republicans spoke out against him. All those good, (R) people saying, “Nazis are a bridge too far for us,” had to sway the people who voted for him, right?

Nope.

Recent polling data, taken both before and after his Nazi nuzzling, have indicated that people who love Trump REALLY love themselves some Trump. (My president, right or wrong. And by the way, he’s never wrong, so fuck you.) Making this even more ridiculous is that these people say that they can’t imagine ANYTHING the president would EVER do that would EVER make them change their mind about him.

Having spent half my life in journalism, my mind can go to some pretty dark and evil places. Pair that with the things Trump has said or done (“Grabbing Pussy-gate,” stiffing contractors, threatening nuclear war to the point that “Duck and Cover” is up for an Emmy this year, the “good Nazi” argument etc.) and the possibilities are endless for what might be next. I can easily see Trump doing something like a cross between the home invasion scene in “Clockwork Orange” and President Camacho’s state of the union address as an upcoming Pay-Per-View event in the next week or two.

His supporters? “Cool! How much is it?”

Fuck You Nation is predicated on the idea that people cling to their own shit regardless of how horrible it smells because to do otherwise would be ADMITTING to the ENEMY that being wrong is POSSIBLE! That’s weaksauce and unacceptable.

Trump figured that out about our nation long before anyone else did. Or, at the very least, he figured out how to galvanize it for his own benefit in a way that others couldn’t or wouldn’t. This puts those of us who have a brain, enjoy thinking and are willing to reconsider things for the betterment of reality in a real bind. Either we have to counterbalance by pulling in the opposite direction of the Posse Comadumbass or we run the risk of constantly fracturing the opposition that exists as we all independently come to different conclusions on who or what we should support.

In the mean time, we might not be that far from seeing Trump grab a Luger and head to Midtown.

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.

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.

A Deaf Frog

One of the best jokes about jumping to the wrong conclusion is that of the scientist and the frog. The scientist tells the frog to jump and the frog does so. The scientist then cuts off one of the frog’s legs and repeats the command. The frog continues to jump until the scientist has removed all four legs, at which point, the frog remains still.

The scientist then makes this entry in his notes: “After removing all four legs, frog goes deaf.”

An equally disgusting and yet not nearly as funny series of answers emerged this week in regard to how public figures dealt with problematic situations.

Bill Cosby, who has apparently told more people to “relax” than Frankie Goes to Hollywood, had his fate delayed when a Pennsylvania jury deadlocked 10-2 in his sexual-assault case. Cosby has been accused of scores of women (and that’s literally accurate, sadly) of drugging and raping them over the past several decades. In this singular case, involving an administrator in the Temple University athletic program, Cosby was said to have used Quaaludes to knock her unconscious before having sex with her against her will in 2004. Cosby remains free on bond while the state considers its next move, which will likely be a retrial.

What will Cosby be doing with all this free time, now that a Cosby Show reunion show is likely out of the question? He’s planned a series of town-hall meetings in which he will “educate” young men and married men how to avoid accusations of sexual assault in this litigious society:

 

Ebonee M. Benson, who works with Mr. Wyatt and joined him on the program, said the need for awareness had grown because the statutes of limitations on sexual assault have been extended in several states. In some cases the legislative efforts were aided by women who have accused Mr. Cosby of molesting them.

“People need to be educated on a brush against the shoulder,” she said. “Anything at this point can be considered sexual assault.”

 

Or, y’know, the lecture could just be, “Don’t drug and fuck people against their will. And pull up your damned pants.” However, as Cosby sees it, the problem isn’t the fucking, but rather needing to find ways to make sure it doesn’t come back to haunt you.

Speaking of things that can come back to haunt you, the White House has figured out that people will actually recall the official and unofficial comments people make and hold you to them. Everything from the evening news to late-night comedy shows use the clip montage on an almost daily basis to showcase what an official is saying now compared to the exact opposite thing that person said over the past six months. Trump, Spicer, Conway, Sessions and more all have fallen victim to the “Here’s a statement they made today that is directly contradicted by the nine times they said the exact opposite thing.”

The answer was clear earlier this week: Stop the taping. The White House has set up a series of bizarre rules that limit live presentation of the press briefing, no cameras and limitations on audio. In an even dumber decision, it issued an edict to the media (whose job it is to tell the public stuff) not to tell the public the instructions the news outlets received on how this off-the-camera approach was supposed to work. So, in short, we’re doing something shitty to you and we want to tell you what that shitty thing is, but don’t you dare report that we told you about this shitty thing we’re going to do to you.

Speaking of shitty things that are being done to the public, the Senate has drafted its version of the “Repeal and Replace Obamacare with Something Great” bill. The Republicans have known for quite some time that debating health care is a long, tiring and dicey process. The Affordable Care Act hearings went on for an interminable amount of time, with all sorts of maneuvering in hopes of derailing it. Although the ACA isn’t perfect, thanks in large part to these speed bumps and road blocks put up by opponents of the bill at the time, it is providing insurance to more than 23 million more people than the House version of Trumpcare would.

The senate realizes two things:

  1. Cutting people off of health coverage, including Medicaid and any other Medi-help, is likely to result in people losing their shit.
  2. Since they are essentially doing exactly that, people are likely to lose their shit.

The solution is simple: Don’t show people what you’re working on. Much like a 4-year-old who is covering up his homework so mom can’t see how shitty his penmanship is, Mitch McConnell and his crew of unnamed bill-makers have sat in secret for the past couple weeks, crafting whatever it is they are crafting. The reveal on Thursday showed that it was essentially the same shit as the House bill, only potentially worse. McConnell upped his game by pushing for a vote within a week and refusing to say he’d allow for at least 10 hours of debate and discussion on it.

It makes little sense to attempt to apply common sense to these kinds of solutions, as none really applies. At best, the solutions are Machiavellian maneuvers and at worst they are like people who put pennies in the fuse box to get the power back on.

It also does little good to call people out on this kind of bullshit, given that most of the people who display this level of chutzpah lack the inherent ability to be ashamed of themselves. All they see in front of them is what their myopic vision of self-assuredness allows them to see.

A deaf frog.