Category Archives: Immoral Values

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.

Someone Told People to Resent Others

This thread is worth reading, referencing as it does the ongoing “resentment politics” that have devastated Scott Walker’s Wisconsin:

As I keep saying, people do not independently come to the conclusion that all minorities are T-bone buying welfare cheats dragging on the system and burning down the ‘hood. Someone TELLS them that. We can’t just accept that outlook as the reality and address it with policy without squarely facing who is pushing the message and how they are doing it.

Because until we counter the voices yelling at them through their speakers, it won’t matter if Democrats DO come out strongly in favor of Medicare for All, if they remind people they were the only ones who gave even half a fuck about reining in rapacious health care companies, if they run ads every other second touting free community college and support for organized labor. It won’t matter if they all turn into St. Bernie Sanders, or for that matter St. Hillary Clinton as she was instead of as she was portrayed. It won’t matter if we run Obama 12 more times.

So long as there is a chorus of wingnut dickbags on Fox and talk radio (and talk radio, in Wisconsin especially, is a mental cancer) telling them Democrats want to give all your hard-earned money to lazy black women who are having too many babies, that will always drown anything else out. So long as cable news continues to poison the well of public discourse and define the narrative as “politics is broken, everybody is bad, just give up,” so long as local papers run four pages on a good day and three of those are syndicated columns talking about “Washington” being the problem, the only thing people are going to hear is what Republicans want them to hear.

It’s understandable, sure, to my fellow palefaces. Give me a choice between studying and shooting heroin, I’m gonna show you my veins. I know these people, I meet them on the regular, and you do not have to dig very far under the surface to find the jokes about people getting fat on soda and public assistance while they, the virtuous, just marvel at the destruction of their neighborhoods by “those” elements.

They side-eye every low-hanging-pantsed dude they see on a trip to the mall because THAT is who they picture taking everything away from them. It’s all one thing. They don’t separate their contempt into rural vs. urban vs. black vs. white boxes. I’m not making a joke. You can’t counter vagaries like that with specifics of policy.

You have to counter it with entertainment and right now we have no show.

A.

The Environment Is For Pussies

When did not wanting to strip-mine Mt. Rushmore become a tacit offer of same-sex fellatio?

The answer? AS SOON AS IT NEEDED TO BE FOR REPUBLICANS TO MAKE BANK.

The president himself said it on Twitter, in a message aimed not at anybody in real life but

And the thing is, like most of what came out of Trump’s mouth during the campaign, of course it seems sensible to care more about Pittsburgh than Paris, more about yourself than the rest of the world. I myself like the polar bears fine, and I recycle and take public transit to work, but environmental causes aren’t my nearest and dearest, so if you ask me if I should take away somebody’s job for a polar bear of COURSE I’m gonna say no. Those furry fuckers have claws, let them fend for themselves.

But come on. Do we really not know this by now? This isn’t about jobs. If it was we’d be building factories to manufacture solar batteries and funding scientific research like we pay for soccer stadiums. Cities and towns across America would be competing to offer the best programs for environmental research in their public universities, and making the results part of our cultural heritage so that no one company could own them. If this was about jobs we would spend on jobs like we once spent on the WPA and the Tennessee Valley Authority and the interstate highway system and the Marshall Plan.

If this was about creating jobs or literally anything else we cared about at all, we’d pretend it was a ground war in the Middle East and we’d fund it forever.

This isn’t about jobs, and to keep arguing that yes, the GOP wants to burn down the world but the Democrats need to be less faggy about it is a dumbassed (and not a little homophobic) waste of our time.

So let’s not climb down in the muck with them and argue that we came to fuck fat-bottomed big-tittied American girls also, just as much if not MORE. We will fuck them more! Harder! Possibly we will recycle the bottle of beer we break off to jam into our own foreheads to prove our manliness, but we’ll still cut ourselves just to show you our red blood! Look at the size of our trucks!

Let’s not do that. It’s gross.

Worse, it’s ineffective.

Let’s dismantle the propaganda network that says this is what we have to talk about in the first place, that this is the only way to have an argument. I’ve gotten just absolutely full up the past year on listening to people I mostly agree with talking about how Democrats and liberals and city elites look down on “working people.” Let me ask you this: Who told those working people Democrats and liberals and city elites look down on them? 

Who said, you are forgotten, and the Republican Party will remember you?

Who said, you’ve been counted out, in favor of the environment, and we’ll count you back in?

Someone must have. I doubt Middle American white people just all woke up one day and intuited that all universities and large cities are full of egghead liberal treehuggers who hate them. That sort of seems like the kind of thing a 24 HOUR “NEWS” NETWORK ON TV AND TALK RADIO would have to tell them.

So we can change our messaging all we want. We can talk about how if we see a polar bear, we’re gonna beat it senseless and then bite its dick off in a show of manly dominance. We can go up to the ice shelf and stage Burning Man.

Or, in the opposite direction, we can propose policies (we had a presidential candidate who did quite a bit of that, actually, in our recent past) that will help the ever-loving shit out of working poor people, stuff like free college and higher minimum wages and strengthening organized labor and rebuilding public schools and oh yeah, a health insurance plan to at least help a few people not go bankrupt.

It’s not gonna matter until we break the stranglehold Fox and its cowardly enablers in cable news have on information in this country. Nothing we’re saying is getting out NOW. What’s the point of continuing to re-write the position papers if it’s all gonna come down to who’s yelling the loudest. Anyone who wants anything lasting to change has gotta fight like hell not just to change politics but to change who talks about it on TV.

I don’t see any other way out of this. Do you?

And if you do, can you tell the polar bears? They’re getting kind of freaked out.

A.

Profanity = State Sanctioned Violence Against Minorities

Every time I think we’ve reached Peak Both Sides, another mountain rears up in the distance: 

But now it isn’t just Mr. Trump. In their new “resistance” mode, Democrats have become just as nasty. Tom Perez, the Democrats’ new national chairman, has already earned notoriety for his use of profanity at rallies. At some of them, he has trouble speaking because the anti-Trump heckling is so loud.

Does no one have an editor anymore? Doesn’t someone in the newsroom say something like, hey, I read your piece, and I was just thinking that the power differential is so vast between “heckler at a rally” and PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED FUCKING STATES that applying laughably malleable “standards” to both is like asking your 8th grader and your dog to do math homework and getting mad when Fido pisses on the long division? I mean what the SHIT.

Whoops. More profanity. It’s just like I herded two dozen foreigners into a concentration camp with my filthy word hole.

For those of you not lucky enough to live through this during the early days of both the Iraq War and liberal political blogging, this was the entirety of the argument against us: Yes, you may be right, but you are right in a way that makes me feel bad, so therefore you are wrong. Because you smell. Hippie.

Like there were entire protests that got invalidated because someone wore the wrong T-shirt.

It was infuriating then and it’s infuriating now, for lots of reasons the very least of which was that nobody was chiding wingnuts to stop burning Obama in effigy and making birth certificate jokes and waving Confederate flags around because it would make THEM look bad, albeit for actually being bad, not for being right. Just fuck these people, is my point. Fuck them for a lot of things, but mostly for only being able to get offended by the word fuck.

A.

‘This is someone’s child’

It’s important to know that somebody fought back: 

“I was saying, ‘Creator – provide comfort to his family who don’t know you’re here,” she recalled.

An officer called out to her: “You did what you could, it’s time to come off the train.”

[snip]

The next night, Macy met Namkai-Meche’s mother and father at a vigil held by the train stop. She handed his father a purple-painted, heart-shaped rock, her prayer rock.  She said the victim’s parents thanked her for being with their son, telling her that she was “a mamma to our boy in that moment.”

Macy, a single mother of five children who rides the MAX to and from her community college courses at least three times a week, said she just did “what had to be done.”

“I just kept thinking this is someone’s child,” she said.

I read this right after Trump’s election, the idea that if you’re one of those people who loudly fantasizes about killing baby Hitler or whatever, you don’t need to go back in time to figure out who you would have been in the war. You’re in the war. Whatever you’re doing right now is what you would have done then.

(‘Twas ever thus, of course. The world has always been burning. I felt like this after 9/11, all those people talking about how a crisis made them realize what they wanted to be, like the fuck is wrong with you you don’t know what you want to be already? Sometimes my inner pissed-off 19-year-old gets the talking stick.)

So if you’re writing letters, calling reps, volunteering, working, creating spaces for people to think and breathe and be free, if you’re using your power to help others with less, if you’re trying every single day to be kind, to overcome paralysis and exhaustion and worry and reach out to someone else, if you’re doing even a little more than you think you can, that’s who you are in the war. You’re someone’s child too.

A.

If “Blazing Saddles” were a Bizarro-land, post-apocalyptic horror film…

ClarkeTrump
(IMDB’s description of “Blazing Saddles” begins with “A corrupt politician hires a black sheriff…” which is all that film and this situation have in common.)

News broke Wednesday that Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke was taking a position in the Homeland Security Department, leaving me to recall a line George Carlin once uttered about Ross Perot’s challenge for the presidency in 1992:
“Just what a nation of idiots needs: A short, loud idiot.”

Coming up with a descriptor for Clarke is like trying to catch a fart and paint it green. It’s also as pleasurable. Many news organizations relied on the tried-and-true adjectives like “controversial” and “polarizing,” while NY Mag reached for “actual fascist.” A vulgar part of me would have gone with “fucktard” while a more journalistic aspect of me would actually settle on “Trumpian.”

And maybe that’s the best indication that this story is true, in spite of a non-denial denial by the office itself that Clarke hasn’t been given a position at Homeland Security.

This guy is 100 percent Trump with a better haircut a worse choice of clothing.

For people lucky enough to not know who he is, David Clarke has “served” (quotes intentional) Milwaukee County for the past 15 years as its sheriff. He was appointed by Gov. Scott McCallum in 2002 to finish a retiring sheriff’s term and then kept on rolling. Clarke has done and said a ridiculous number of incredibly stupid things. Trying to pick and choose some of them is like trying to put together a Rolling Stones Greatest Hits Album: No matter what you pick, there’s another incredible contender that gets left off. Consider a few of these beauties:

 

It’s not just the bombast, the rapid-fire threats and the general lack of decorum that makes the “Trumpian” moniker fit this man. It’s the way in which he has manipulated reality to improve his personal lot in life. While alleged Billionaire Trump paints himself as a champion of the blue-collar working folk, Clarke masquerades as a Democrat. He registers as a member of the Blue Team primarily because Milwaukee is a deep blue sea among the outlying red rural areas of the state.

Clarke has also followed Trump’s lead on issues of safety and security, painting pictures of illegals running roughshod over the citizens of the country. Meanwhile, neither can see the crises he causes in his own proximate area (Trump’s chaotic White House, Clarke’s dungeon-esque jail).

Like Trump, Clarke is nothing like what he portends to be. Everything about him is a blustering con, including his bedazzled, flair-filled uniform, which Army vet Charles Clymer took to task in a series of hysterical tweets.

Perhaps the hardest thing to discuss regarding Clarke, given that this is the third rail of society, is the issue of race. Clarke himself has played both sides of the race card, in one case swapping racial slurs with Mark Lamont Hill of CNN, going as far as to call him a “jigaboo” on Twitter. The Milwaukee chapter of the NAACP has frequently criticized Clarke, with the group’s president noting, “If there was a white sheriff making those statements, they would have demanded his resignation by now.”

This is true: Clarke is essentially part Bull Connor, part bullshit. He’d be the first one to tell a black kid to pull up his pants and that protestors are a bunch of snowflakes and the conservative white folk just eat that shit up.

Or to pull a line from the great movie, “Lean on Me” : “I know why you like Clark. He’s a guard dog. Does your dirty work. Keeps the black folk in line.”

I have never managed to understand how Clarke kept getting reelected as sheriff in my hometown area. After the first term, it was pretty clear he wasn’t a Democrat. After the second term, it was clear he was a bully. Now, it’s clear the man is fucking crazy, so he naturally had to find someone similarly screwed up to hire him.

And as much as I want him out of here, I can’t imagine we’ll be in any better shape with him sharing asshole tips with The Donald.

Bomb the Suburbs

Fucking FINALLY, someone pays attention: 

Trump’s real base, the actual backbone of fascism, isn’t poor and working-class voters, but middle-class and affluent whites. Often self-employed, possessed of a retirement account and a home as a nest egg, this is the stratum taken in by Horatio Alger stories. They can envision playing the market well enough to become the next Trump. They haven’t won “big-league,” but they’ve won enough to be invested in the hierarchy they aspire to climb. If only America were made great again, they could become the haute 
bourgeoisie—the storied “1 percent.”

Trump’s most institutionally entrenched middle-class base includes police and Border Patrol unions, whom he promptly unleashed after his inauguration by allowing them free rein in enforcing his vague but terrifying immigration orders, and by appointing an attorney general who would call off investigations into troubled police departments. As wanton as their human-rights atrocities in the years leading up to the Trump era have been, law-enforcement agents are already making their earlier conduct look like a model of restraint. They are Trump’s most passionate supporters and make concrete his contempt for anyone not white, male, and rich.

I’ve been yelling about this for at least five years.

Source.

During the 2011 Wisconsin gubernatorial recall, the reddest parts of the state, which went the hardest for Walker, weren’t purely rural. They were the white-flight suburbs of Milwaukee. People there moved out of the city and nurtured in themselves and their children a story about how black and brown people “ruined” “their” neighborhoods. The city was a shithole out of which they’d been driven, and they were going to get their revenge.

National treasure Heather Havrilesky got at this right after the election when the national press was still jerking itself off about Hillbilly Elegy, about suburban discomfort and the need to conform:

In the suburbs the constant fear is “safety.” I recently sat at a suburban lunch table and listened to three women my own age talk for an hour about how to keep their purses safe during pre-school dropoff. Somebody knew somebody who’d heard something on the radio about men doing smash-and-grab with purses out of minivans and this was a federal case now. The preschool should have security cameras. Here’s my brand of car alarm.

(Just don’t leave your purse in your car, then. Don’t be an idiot. Why are we still talking about this?)

A group of moms at a playground recently devolved into talking about the lack of indoor playspaces nearby. I mentioned one, in a predominantly Hispanic suburb, which was bright and open and always had plenty of room for more kids. “That neighborhood is so sketchy,” one of the women told me. Had she been there? Of course not, her husband would never allow it! Everybody nodded; the world was dangerous and you had to protect yourself! It’s just awful about things these days. People are so goddamned scared.

Local TV news feeds this phenomenon, and the local suburban press as well. The city is always a cesspool of black and brown criminals, homeless, needy, looking to carjack you the minute you go downtown for a play. People always want to take what’s yours. If you’re from the city, you left because you HAD TO move away to protect yourself (and your children, the ready-made excuse for your racist crap) and that sense of being driven out by outside forces (black outside forces; unscrupulous real estate agents, not so much) informs everything around you now. You moved to be safe, but you don’t feel safe because now you’ve let fear control you and once is all it takes.

If you know anything about inherited trauma, you know what you tell your children about why you live where you live. People my age didn’t flee African-Americans marching for open housing but they damn well know why their parents and grandparents did, and among themselves, after a couple of beers, they’ll tell you they know how to keep everything under control.

From the Nation article:

Their material security bound up in the value of their real-estate assets, suburban white people had powerful incentives to keep their neighborhoods white. Just by their very proximity, black people would make their neighborhoods less desirable to future white home-buyers, thereby depreciating the value of the location. Location being the first rule of real estate, suburban homeowners nurtured racist attitudes, while deluding themselves that they weren’t excluding black people for reasons beyond their pocketbooks.

So the people who support Trump the hardest? The people who backed him with their donations and lawn signs and votes? They’re not trailer trash. They’re worse, and it’s because they think they’re better.

They think they’re better than trailer trash because they don’t use the n-word (as they stake a BLUE LIVES MATTER or a WE BACK THE BADGE sign into their lawns and ask why “minorities” have to make everything about race). They’d never tell a Hispanic woman to go back to “her” country if they saw her in the grocery store, but the next time they’re two glasses into the rosé at book club they’ll wonder if she was talking about them when she was speaking Spanish, and declare that immigrants don’t have to learn English anymore.

They’re not going to yell at a woman on the street to make them a sandwich. They will, however, tell a woman with a job that it’s too bad she can’t stay home with her kids, and say they’d never let “a stranger” take care of their children. They’ll put a bumper sticker on their cars: It’s a child, not a choice, or Defund Planned Parenthood, but they’re not bigots or sexists themselves.

They think their fear is more valid than the racism of some Confederate Flag-waving jackhole with a white truck and brown teeth. They think it’s more virtuous to be scared than to be evil. And if they ever do start to wonder if they might be monsters, if they might be on the wrong side of something, well, they have the trailer trash to look at and say, we’re not that. We have one ass instead of two, and nobody in our family’s in jail for making meth.

Dad worked in an office, not a coal mine. We’re better than them. We just vote for the same people, over and over, no matter what, and if we tell ourselves we have a different reason, maybe it buys us out of hell.

A.

You’ve got to remember your NAME

Reek, my name is reek: 

Fair attack: the bill strips millions of coverage: Unfair attack: It was written by white men in suits and they rejoice at hurting the poor

Yes. The most important thing in the world is to be fair.

We mustn’t unfairly attack this bill, or its authors.

We must strive to be dispassionate. We must consider each line of argument coolly and with great deliberation.

Fairness, after all, is the most critical aspect of health care policy debate.

It’s more important than the facts of the bill.

It’s more important than the motivations of its authors.

It’s more important than health care itself, is fairness.

More important than chemo.

More important than a newborn baby’s incubator.

More important than Grandma’s new hip.

It’s more important than antibiotics for strep, stitching up Dad after he fell that time, putting a cast on Cousin Billy’s arm. It’s more important than removing Aunt Sally’s tumor. Certainly far more important than anyone’s little sister’s brain surgery.

We must be fair.

We shouldn’t call the authors of the American Health Care Act evil. Just because they aim to strip insurance coverage from millions, just because they shook off concerns from veterans and grandparents like so much rainwater, just because they THREW A FUCKING PARTY to celebrate eliminating regulations to require pre-existing condition coverage, we shouldn’t call them evil.

That’s not fair.

And our fairness, the appropriateness of our tone, trumps any action by anyone else.

They can act with impunity. We must police every word we say.

We must greet our murderers with gentle words, tea, and supplications for permission to critique their destruction of our society. Anything more strident invalidates our point. We must be quiet and calm at all times.

They’ll still kill us, of course, but at least we’ll have been FAIR.

A.