Author Archives: The Head Seminarian

Orange Julius Caesar

I honestly thought that I was going to be able to stop writing about Donald Trump for a minute there. But it’s hard to ignore a global terrorist.

Now what do I mean by that?

The position of President of The United States is not merely the head of the American system of government. When we emerged victorious from World War Two over the Axis powers and stabbed Stalin in the back, we created two distinct spheres of influence on the globe-Russian and the American-and both countries have been struggling back and forth to expand theirs for the last 70 years or so without nuking us commoners to kingdom come. We call the American president the “leader of the free world” and we use our considerable military superiority to place more countries under our protection racket. In a nutshell, what the president does in no small part is manage an empire of fiefdoms and clients, often far from our shores to ensure our primacy upon the globe in addition to executing our laws.

Some of you thought Donald Trump had the CV for that job. You reasoned that a businessman was going to be good at managing an empire. There’s an element of common sense in that. Politicians don’t have the best record in the game of looking out for our interests. I understand.

What you didn’t realize is that Donald Trump is a fairly shitty (some would certainly add shady) businessman. You had many opportunities to know that, and you failed to do your due diligence. Trump is good at starting stuff, but isn’t much for finishing it. Sound familiar? It should. That’s Trump’s real fucking trademark if there is one-doing things half-assed. But anyway, he has worked very hard at trying to make his name a household word, one you can trust. Instead, it’s synonymous instead with “ripoff” and “corrupt”. Now I’m not a businessman, but Donald’s batting about .400 in terms of successful ventures. I’ll grant that list is impressive in terms of sheer ambition, but it means that more than half the time Donald doesn’t get it right even when the wind is at his back. We’re all a few bong rips away from a dozen business plans with our names on it, and I’m betting they would be better thought out than Trump Steaks. We just don’t have the access to capital for our dreams and follies and that is the difference between a regular American and a guy like Trump. He knows how to work the system and “win” even when he loses. Such is the way of the wealthy.

He’s also a fucking boorish, ultra-addled, perverse, spiteful, infantile, self-absorbed ex-playboy who is using the presidency to promote himself and his businesses in clear violation of the Constitution. A lot of you were into his act, all that MAGA horseshit and all the “winning” he was going to give you while not officially taking a dime to do so, and it will take the experts to explain to me why someday. I can only offer that the madness of crowds makes people do dumb things, even dangerous things. It’s much easier to be a terrible person in the midst of a mob. But you all should know by now that you got played. None of you pikers will “win” from a Trump presidency. In fact, a good bit of you are losing. Most of the old guard conservatives are coming to Jesus and television every day to tell you what a mistake letting a base miscreant like Donald Trump go on the ultimate power trip of being President of the United States was. He’s bad for the movement and they probably all know that Donald did everything he’s being investigated for and more. Hedging against Trump’s survival has good odds.

It was weird psychic voodoo that Trump cooked up for you. Now you all know I don’t give Trump any credit whatsoever for stumbling his way into the Oval Office. He is surely one of the stupidest creatures who has ever drawn breath in my lifetime. But he told you that you were in hell and you believed it. And only he knew the way to heaven and it worked like gangbusters.

It’s so strange to think of it sometimes. He’s a textbook demagogue that can’t fucking read. He’s a fascist totalitarian who can’t spell those words. I look for gods to thank that Donald isn’t terribly bright and sleep well knowing that he can’t run a con on everything in the government, try as he might, by larding it with comical flunkies and like minded maniacs, because the system was built to stop a president like Donald Trump (at least that’s what I tell myself when I want to sleep well). And he fires flunkies faster than he can hire them. Eventually if this pace of dismissal and resignation keeps up, the entire cabinet will be comprised of Donald Trump sockpuppets and perhaps Ivanka.

As of this writing, Trump has withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal, claiming he can get a better one. Ha! I’d love it if someone in the press can ask him what was wrong with it in the first place and what improvements he wanted to make. But you and I know he doesn’t know, it’s just because that black bastard Obama signed it and that’s why Sarah Sanders is out there lying in his stead about her boss who turns everything he touches to shit. He’s also very proud that Israel claimed Jerusalem and sent kin and business to the grand opening, not mindful at all of the death and anguish brought about by this reckless choice. After all, they’re just A-rabs with the wrong god, the Middle Eastern version of the American Indians.

But take heart, other dealings are afoot. Uday may have done a little colludin’ and he’s not coughing up the identity of a caller while The Trump Tower Meeting took place. Also, Michael Cohen could be on the bad side of jail bars if we find out that he was taking money for favor with his boss. The pace of these developments is increasing. But we must sit tight and wait.

Wait. Just a little more.

It’s almost dawn.

The thread will be torn.

 

Transitions

It looks like my days as a writer are coming to an end, if this journal is any indication. Gone are the days when I used to come here three times a day to get something off my chest. Now I go a month without writing. Social media has rendered blogging extraneous, but that’s a lame excuse to stop. The good news is that I am trying to expand my knowledge of the guitar, because even at my amateur level ( I know no theory, or keys, or technique) there are moments where I transcend, hitting that spot where noise becomes an actual expression of feelings.

I must force myself to do this, this writing thing. That’s unfortunate, because now and then I am good at it. My primary target online has been one Donald J. Trump, who is currently “leading” this country via his smartphone. I don’t know how we put ourselves in this situation. Everyone with an intact prefrontal cortex is trying to figure out how we collectively found the absolute stupidest person we have ever run across on this bluegreen ball and made him president. H.L. Mencken knew we were going to do this almost 100 years ago, and oil magnate turned Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reported from the field that he could confirm that we had done such.

I tire of the Trump saga. The ending is long overdue, and thanks to the chickenshit lassitude of Congress it will come far later than it ought to. There’s even a possible (some would even say probable given the credulousness of half of the voting population coupled with the infighting on the left) future that Trump will get another term. Lately, I just watch scandal after scandal drift by without bothering much to tarry upon them because no one in power wants to do anything about it. Eventually, Robert Mueller will pull the string that either gets him fired or gets Trump indicted. Wake me when that happens. I will march with you for sure.

Sometimes I think I should switch focus and begin to write about my struggles with bipolar disorder. Lord knows that this blog was born in the ashes of a very manic phoenix. I still keep my rants, as embarrassing as they are. They’re part and parcel of me, for better or for worse. Thanks to the VA and a pair of dedicated doctors, I’m coping and if you talked to me today you would have no idea that I lost my mind and got locked up in a loony bin. I have no career despite a four year degree, due to the severity of my illness. Now and then I think that unfortunate, but if I look back, in every job I have ever had I have always managed to disclose that I am not well by my actions or words. I was either the court jester or woefully incompetent at a job, often a mix of the two. Just what every functioning business needs. The Army was a strange but necessary choice for me because I never saw a bridge I didn’t want to burn. I am very lucky to have spent nine years in uniform, because I would never have been diagnosed as chronically ill were it not for the free and comprehensive healthcare I received during my hitches.

Bellyaching is customary in the service, so it’s no surprise to me when I hear soldiers or ex-soldiers criticize the armed service healthcare system. And it’s gotten political. Predictably, the conservatives are itching to fix the problem by introducing the profit motive, as if that ever helped anything. You don’t leave medical care to the lowest bidder, doubly so for the people who volunteer to get shot at for a living instead of you. The reality is that we broke a lot of soldiers in our recent history, and we need more hospitals and more doctors who study things like TBIs and PTSD. We could have improved the veteran infrastructure and a half a dozen other things by upping taxes on the absurdly rich at some point, who, like it or not, are really who our soldiers fight for so you can just zip it right now about us fighting for freedom. But nooo, we had to have tax cuts because Americans are really bad at looking out for each other and knowing where their bread is buttered (or knowing anything worth knowing, as seems to increasingly be the case thanks to a thriving misinformation industry). Anyway, it’s best for everyone that I am home, tending to the house while the wife toils in the insurance business. She’s going back to school at 40 to get her degree so she has more choices. No one winds up in insurance because they like it, unless you are at the top of the food chain selling policies and getting 5 digit commissions. You generally have to have a dick to get that job. So best for her that she gets out before she goes gray.

After a decade of treatment, we are still trying to hit the right pharmaceutical formula to help me be the best me. I guess it’s something I could expound upon that may be interesting to other sufferers of bipolar disorder and anxiety. Maybe I’ll fuck with that. I might also do music reviews of old music because that’s what I buy as a cranky old person-I used to enjoy a little rock journalism. There’s some other, darker stuff on my mind I’d like to get out, but it will take thousands more words to say it correctly and I’ve hit a thousand already talking about what I’m going to be talking about or not talking about. How exciting for you. I hope I screw up the courage and the will to use this thing again and try something.

Midnight Creep

It’s rare for me to request that famous people shut their goddamn mouths. I do not understand the logic of people who refuse to entertain someone’s thoughts simply because they are well known. Laura Ingraham, late of sieg-heiling to Donald Trump at the RNC convention, wrote a whole book about the Jews liberals in Hollywood and how much she resents them sticking their hooked noses into politics because they’re so popular.

I guess the theory is that they skew the national conversation due to their star power. That may be true in a way, but I fail to see how this is a bad thing. If I had any measure of fame and I could do good by using my station and spare time to promote a cause I care about, you can bet that I would do it.

Her argument is shit-after all, Laura Ingraham is a popular radio host and author. She’s on TV too. Does that mean she now must shut up because she’s not ordinary? Of course not-at least not until the revolution and the reeducation camps. Point is, it doesn’t matter what you do. If you’re lucky enough to have a job that literally hands you a microphone, you take it and do something substantial with it.

Really, all Ingraham was bitching about is the arts in general because typically conservatives are some of the most artless fucks ever conceived. They have no imagination by default, and that is why they can only see the way things are or the way they have been as opposed to the way they could be. Celebrities create for a living, and that is why they lean naturally towards progressivism. Journalists are also largely liberal, being curious storytellers. The creative professions point the way to a better future, an end to things like hunger, injustice, war and all the other things left over from our cruel simian past that we would do well to get control of or there won’t be a planet left to dominate. Either that or they’re just ginning up some fun for us, and that is fine too.

It pains me to have to say that Jesse Hughes needs to shut the fuck up.

Stat.

For those of you who know some Jesse Hughes music, you are indeed saddened to find that he is a supersized asshole. Either that or he’s got mental problems, and I’ll address that.

This is Jesse at the height of his powers:

The record that came off of was one of the best fucking rock and roll discs to come out of the aughts. It was sexy, slinky, simple, perverse and it didn’t take itself seriously for one minute. The drummer is of some renown (and an asshole in his own right), but it’s Hughes’ delivery and stripped down playing that makes the Eagles Of Death Metal sound not like Queens Of The Stone Age. It was a debut I could and still can listen to all the way through, and that’s saying a lot given how hard it seems to be to make a long player that people want to keep playing.

Most of you should remember the massacre at the Bataclan theatre in 2015. A wave of violence swept across Paris, and while The Eagles were playing a gunmen sprayed fire and grenades upon the crowd, slaughtering almost 90 people including the Eagles’ merch manager. The band got separated during the attack but everyone was safe.

If I were Jesse Hughes or anyone in that theater, I would have developed post-traumatic shock disorder afterwards. And that is probably exactly what happened, with some caveats. In an interview Hughes admitted that he was haunted, but then went on a tirade about gun control in France, familiar refrains for gun lovers but perhaps coming from a place of deep personal grief and pain:

“Did your French gun control stop a single f–king person from dying at the Bataclan? And if anyone can answer ‘yes’, I’d like to hear it, because I don’t think so. I think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men that I’ve ever seen in my life charging head-first into the face of death with their firearms.”

“I know people will disagree with me, but it just seems like God made men and women, and that night, guns made them equal. I think the only way that my mind has been changed is that maybe until nobody has guns everybody has to have them. Because I don’t ever want to see anything like this ever happen again and I want everyone to have the best chance to live and I saw people die that maybe could have lived.”

OK, I get it. But we all know that anytime guns are introduced into a situation, the potential for an accidental death increases. If we applied Hughes’ solution to the Bataclan attack, many more would have died in the chaos. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that some people were struck by “good guy” fire that night in a room thick with noncombatants. Furthermore, for as long as I can remember (and I was a pre-9/11 teen), most entertainment venues want you to be weapon-free because for one thing, alcohol and weapons mix poorly-and lastly, no one would know how to sort the good guys from the bad in the heat of the moment and so basically Jesse Hughes is an idiot for thinking it’s a swell idea for everyone to start packing at a crowded show.

But perhaps we should give him the benefit of the doubt, because he went through a harrowing experience and things said while still in shock are usually not coming from a good place.

However, there’s only so much I can give in the way of forbearance when he attacks children three years later for being angry too (in addition to being stricken with sadness) about their friends being gunned down at school because any lunatic in America can get an assault rifle in under a half-hour. The children of Parkland literally went through the same thing that Hughes did and instead of playing a benefit he shat on them and their dead friends on Instagram:

“Hughes’s verified account posted a cartoon equating gun control to cutting off one’s dick to prevent rape, paired with a caption slamming Parkland students as “pathetic,” “disgusting vile abusers of the dead” who took “multiple days off of school playing hooky at the expense of 16 of your classmates blood.”

Hughes posted a doctored photo of protest leader Emma González tearing apart a copy of the Constitution and called her, among other things, “the awful face of treason” and a “survivor of nothing.”

Wow. Think about that. A survivor of nothing? From Hughes? At this point I just gotta cut him loose, because now he’s just being a typical fucking stupid conservative dick. There is no daylight whatsoever between Gonzales’ experience and Hughes’, but one would think that Hughes was the child and Gonzalez the adult if you didn’t know who they were. Yesterday, Hughes scrubbed his social media, hopefully embarrassed and chastened but it’s more likely he’s worried about ticket and record sales.

It’s a fucking shame, because I liked his music even though I doubt he’ll never do anything like Peace Love Death Metal again. I’m done with him and his jerk bandmate, who represent the dregs of this paranoid, angry, nasty social experiment called the U.S.A. I’ll leave you with a couple of old eyeroll-worthy quotes from The Eagles’ principal members:

In a 2007 interview, bandmate Josh Homme stated “Jesse Hughes and I have a theory; we’re socially liberal but government conservative guys”. Hughes has also said “I wanted to be a Republican politician, for God sakes. I’m a conservative, dude.”

And I say to you both:

washing-hands.jpg.size-custom-crop.1086x0

Not another dime, fuckheads.

 

The Song Is (Almost) Over

I’m probably going to get this one wrong, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that it’s almost time to write the coda to the Trump fiasco.

Of course, Maggie Haberman, Trump’s bete noire at The Gray Lady is placing the notes, measure by measure.

She’s a proponent of the notion that Trump is applying chaos principles he used in business to the governance of the nation. All of you no-neck dumbfucks out there who thought it’d be a great idea if a businessman took over the operation should be forced to wear sandwich boards saying “HELP, I NEED CIVICS LESSONS”. But anyway, I demur from Haberman’s thesis. If you ask me, it’s more like this:

It’s going to take a lot for me to admit that our clown prince has any methods or any theories at all-not even chaos. For me, you can boil everything he does down to one thing, which is, will I be liked for what I am dong? All decisions stem from this peculiar, immediate, pathological need. So it looks a lot like a chaos strategy because none of it makes any sense if you aren’t thinking about Trump’s deep seated developmental disorder.

In any case, Maggie’s compiled a nice list of Jenga pieces that have been pulled. There’s been a LOT this week. Trump’s imposing tariffs on imported metals. It seems that one of Donald’s endgames is to build more than one wall. Whether we realize it or not we are going to spiral into a sort of soft fascism by believing that we can sustain our way of living without any outside help. Sound familiar? Yep. North Korea. Their existence is totally predicated upon a similar stubborn self reliance, and it’s plainly obvious how Orange Caligula’s ideas are analogous. America First. Make America Great. Combine this hypernationalism with the cult of personality that 35% of the country believes in, you have a recipe for a country on permanent alert and lockdown, full of people who are armed, fearful and angry. We’ve been working at this since 2001 but now the process is speeding like a bullet train. But anyway, prices are going to go up as a result of punitive tariffs, and the stock market is going to get the jitters too-especially if the Fed raises rates.

Then there’s the disappearing of Hope Hicks, Trump’s whisperer. Hicks allegedly told a few “white lies” to investigators and might have put herself in legal jeopardy. Without Hicks, Trump is reduced to watching “Fox And Friends” to get the positive feedback he desperately needs. And John Kelly is wringing out the nepotism, patronage, and corruption in the White House by pulling all the ridiculous interim security clearances that Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and many of the staffers have enjoyed in order to view sensitive information. Kelly may be a tool, but he’s a professional tool. And the misadministration seems allergic to professionalism, perhaps because Trump needs to feel like he’s the smartest man in the room. But it’s going to be awfully quiet at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, because his national security advisor is also jumping ship.

Because Trump cannot be ever said to be firmly “on the reservation”, it’s not news that he isn’t. He’s got the ammosexuals in straitjacket fits by seeming to want to take people’s guns without due process, and for once, correctly calling out the cowardice of legislators when it comes to bucking the NRA. But, as my perspicacious friend always says, he’s all hat and no cattle. Haberman notes this typical backtracking. For all his talk, Trump’s kind of a little bitch when it comes to an actual fight. He steadfastly refuses to plant a flag anywhere, because that might require commitment and sustained attention, two things which he is short on.

Every day is another bombshell, and the salvos are starting to hit behind the lines.

A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.

 

 

Noblesse Effete

I think one of the worst things about the Trump misadministration is that it’s pursuing policies that serve to elevate the richest among us, and blaming the poor and unfortunate for America’s ills. The worst part is that the middle that World War II created is rotten and decaying, so there’s an untouchable money clan and an increasingly desperate hoi polloi left. And the rich are acting so put upon by having to take care of its labor and consumer force. This has been an intractable problem since the inception of the republic, and none of us can afford to take off work these days to demand that they elevate us a little for all the mind numbing, back-busting work we do for them. It’s easy to ignore us, for they feel that things like high-speed internet are luxuries we can afford and therefore the working poor experience is not so poor after all. Never mind that we are all one catastrophe, even one car repair from maxing out our credit cards that charge 25% interest. A rising tide can indeed lift all boats, but that’s not how the rich play it. The dividends belong to them.

Nobody in recent memory has exemplified this devil-may-care attitude towards the working class like Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his gold-digging trophy wife, Louise Linton. I am sure you have seen this, but here’s a really gauche example of how out of touch with 95% of the country he really is:

mnuchin-linton.jpeg

That was a big moment for them, letting everyone know the heights they have been to. They literally have the money supply in their hands.

Now, this photo did not sit well with a lot of people, nor did they appreciate her bragging about the expensive things she was wearing at a political stop with the hubs. And like the spoiled little bitch she is, she reminded us how much they give to the country’s welfare, comparing it to how little we as individual workers do and how much they sacrifice-a spiteful, ill-mannered, highfalutin display of how not to do noblesse oblige. The Trump misadministration encourages people like the Mnuchins, and in fact is larding the government with swamp monsters like them. If you look at “President” Trump’s absurd budget, you will perceive that the rabble are on notice.

These rich motherfuckers haven’t the faintest clue how the rest of us live. To hear them tell it, we are living high on the hog in this country. And we have the nerve to be mad about it, to demand that our government be more responsive to our needs. Why, they’ve already paid your Costco membership, what are you bitching about now, greedy peasant?

Not being well off, or even simply working for a living has its share of anguish, but we little people band together-it’s the only thing we can do-and try to make this mortal coil a bit more bearable. It’s how democracy gets done. It’s how love is exchanged and created.

But today, Fuckface Jr. went to India and marveled at the destitute:

“You go through a town…. you can see the poorest of the poor and there’s still a smile on their face. It’s a different spirit that you don’t see in other parts of the world, where people walk around so solemn,” said Trump Jr.

He claimed the “spirit” of India’s poor “really shines through” and speaks “to the future potential of what this country can do.

He’s obliquely talking about our poor, of course.

See, Don’s a New York City jive turkey. Generally, New Yorkers, at least the Manhattanites I remember, didn’t have much time for pleasantry or a pointless smile. They were going from point A to Point B and you are in their way. And there are people in rags everywhere, competing for dwindling change. It’s hotter than Hades in the summer and freezing like a polar bear’s balls in the winter. Ain’t hardly a thing to smile about sometimes.

Then there’s the bums. Of course, not every bum was, um, solemn. In fact, some of them were quite lively-as a juvenile delinquent who made Manhattan his playground during the Koch/Dinkins years (read:before Guiliani ruined the place), we were often accosted by people willing to do goofy shit for a buck. One dude played television theme shows on a comb. Another one was a superhero. Buskers did what they loved. But for every one of those there were ten for which the streets of NYC were their open air asylum. I had a good time there in spite of this unfortunate tableau. But I had pocket money and a suburban New Jersey home to return to.

In a word, I was as clueless as Donald Trump Jr. about the nature of things around me. That’s what privilege will do to you. I was, to some degree, oblivious to other people’s pain.

And those are the eyes that Don Jr. sees through. Small wonder that he goes to the other side of the globe taken aback when he sees the impoverished smiling somewhere. Chances are they are grinning at him because he looks like he might give them money anyway. But people who suffer greatly often grin and bear it. It’s not peculiar to India, that I can tell you. Fifteen years ago, we broke Iraq. And I too was amazed at the ebullience of the people who were living amongst the wreckage that used to be their neighborhood.  Of course, there were also massive demonstrations full of angry people who lost their way of living because of the invasion, so a few people smiling doesn’t tell the whole tale.

In the end, it’s simply obnoxious to suggest that the lowest classes in America should smile as they wake up another day on a heating vent living on cigarettes and papaya dogs, or be spiritual about their hardships as their corrupt leaders let tax money flow upwards to people like Fuckface Jr. That’s not going to happen. Go back to India, declare yourself a raja and don’t return.

 

Just A Little Prick

There’s a meme out there somewhere that says that having (some number, sorry) illegal aliens in the country is better than one (Trump supporter, Republican…again, sorry).

No one has given me more reason to spottily remember it than good ol’ Todd Starnes. He’s one of those conservatives that derive their adult strength from Jesus and belittling unfortunate people after a school career likely marked by swirlies and getting shoved in lockers. Todd is a mealymouthed little twink with nothing to offer to a civil debate.

Before I begin shredding Todd, I had something of an epiphany about the immigration debate whilst trolling my brother’s Facebook page a few days ago, watching so-called Christians get all huffy about immigrants. I developed an axiom: if you have a lot to say against “illegals”, you’re a racist. Don’t give me that crap about breaking “laws”. That’s your cover story. You have issues with people whose skin color is not like yours and who don’t speak like you. You have probably never been hurt by an illegal (or been exposed to risk from them to a greater degree than you are vulnerable to homemade criminals), none of them have taken your job (in point of fact, they are doing the jobs you won’t do), and they do pay taxes without receiving benefits.

You are hung up because you are a prejudiced asshole. End of discussion. There’s a hundred things to bitch about regarding American life but choosing to plant your flag in this discussion above so many other deserving problems says something about you.

As it happens, being cruel to immigrants is as old as the country itself. For all of our talk about being a melting pot, we have always demeaned the latest wave of immigrants once we have become “Americanized”.

What’s in the name “Starnes”, I wonder? Most Starnes’ are from England, and the name’s root means “stern, uncompromising, austere”. I guess that fits him quite well, if only he didn’t look like look like a rodent who is packing his cheeks for winter:

todd-starnesnra

Anyway, Todd’s as white as can be, hailing from the mother country. If there was an immigrant wave, you can bet a Starnes looked down on it.

Here’s the inconvenient truth on immigration. The problem is intractable and the current boob-in-chief, try as he might, will not fix it. Illegal immigration is a linchpin of daily American life. I wouldn’t be able to afford a chicken breast or enjoy a bunch of grapes if mega-food corporations used labor that they would pay in wampum if they could get away with it. This is the ugly reality sitting just below the surface of our American happy-go-lucky lives; that our polite survival is based, yet again, on slave labor. We don’t get paid enough in this country to make rent, how are we going to deal when a pack of chicken breasts costs eighteen dollars? Am I an amnesty supporter? Yes, of course I am. But a whole range of labor reforms would have to be tackled before we handle how to pay immigrants for the suckiest work that’s ever sucked. If indeed the aim of our corporate masters is to find that sweet spot for all of us between penury and subsistence, then the illegal immigrant issue will not get “fixed”.  It’s going to stay the way they like it, and all of you stupid fucks like Todd Starnes will go on believing your bought off politicians when they say they’re going to scratch your racist itch.

Then there’s DACA. Children of undocumented immigrants born here face a possibility of being sent to a country they don’t know and didn’t come from. That is truly frightening shit and should NEVER happen here. Some of these kids are pursuing academics and serving in the armed forces. Donald Trump could have left DACA as it was, but he purposely kicked the legs out from under it, claiming it was not legal and punting the issue to Congress, where it was guaranteed to languish until it could be used as a bargaining chip in the scorched-earth politics Mitch McConnell trafficks in. Not feeling for these kids who were born of undocumented parents makes you a true scumbag.

So anyway, let’s go look at what the terminally punchable Starnes has to say today:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and a number of other Democrats plan to fill the House gallery with illegal aliens when President Trump delivers his first State of the Union address on Tuesday.

ABC News reports at least 24 House Democrats plan to bring illegals — the so-called “Dreamers” — to watch the Tuesday night speech from the House gallery. 

Whoa! Stop right there, Todd. As I explained above, there is a yuge difference between an “illegal” and a “dreamer”. “Dreamers” have until at least mid-March (and possibly beyond pending a court order to block the end of protections) before they can be targeted for removal. They are not illegal yet, you dumbshit.

The illegal aliens will be sitting in seats that in previous years were meant for brave military heroes, law-abiding taxpayers and America’s best and brightest.

Again, see above on the issue of taxes. Furthermore, there’s almost a thousand “dreamers” serving honorably in the military, which is way more than you can say for chickenhawks like Todd Starnes and Donald Trump for that matter.

Best and brightest? Check out these bad-ass dreamers.

The sad truth is that Democrats would rather align themselves with foreign invaders who violated our national sovereignty, thumbed their nose at the rule of law, and pillaged and plundered taxpayer-funded resources.

Foreign “invaders”? Really with that hyperbole, Todd? You sound like a frightened little Pomeranian who snarls and snaps at anything unfamiliar that gets close to it. Buck up. You are a Starnes, damn it.

In response, President Trump should fill the remainder of the House gallery with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

Imagine the message he could send to the world if he directed ICE agents to arrest every illegal alien in the House chamber – live on national television.

Aside from this being one of the most demented un-American fantasies I have seen in a while, once again, you stupid fuck-these people are legal.

There’s really not much point in more blow-by-blow here, because he gets basic facts wrong repeatedly. The whole piece is predicated on bullshit. But I hope I have made clear here that immigrants have so much to offer this country, way more than angry, hyperventilating white dorks who write a Fox opinion column whose only purpose is to spread misunderstanding and fear do.

 

 

 

 

China China China

I think I have figured out why Donald Trump used to talk so much about China during his campaign. There may have been more to it than just a harsh xenophobic dog whistle. He may have just been doling out the red meat for the rallies a la Mexico and the wall they aren’t paying for. But in reality, the Trump administration’s policy on China is…well…complex.

You would get the idea that China is a nemesis that stands against all we stand for if you listen to Trump on a superficial level. But that’s not the crux of the biscuit.

Here’s the secret: Trump thinks China is awesome.

Fact is, China is a competitor and Trump’s always up for a contest. It’s not insignificant that one of the big things he wanted America to do is “win” again. And winning for Trump is measured in dollars. He laments that our economic growth rate is anemic (it’s fine). He thinks our growth should be double what it is right now. Trump is jealous as shit towards countries who are metastasizing like that. China is what Trump thinks of when he thinks about growth and success, because it may be the only country on a map which Trump recognizes that has absurd growth rates. They’re actually slowing down now to a much less frenetic pace, but China nearly had to have another revolution to force those high numbers.

They became rapacious. They were going to produce until it hurt.

There was no price too high that they would pay to industrialize. They built an infrastructure of heavily polluting coal plants and factories across China. Tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people died every year working in horrid conditions for a pittance. The air became unbreathable in places and the workers couldn’t afford anything that they produced for the rest of the world. This is how you get 7%-10% growth-you work your citizens to death(not unlike slaves), pay them nothing, sell the fruits of the labor for next to nothing and  destroy the environment. And if you complain, you are arrested. There is no such thing as a free press-it’s all state media propaganda and the internet is heavily censored.

But today, China is learning to live with 6.9% growth. They have found that runaway growth is utterly unsustainable. Its technocrats are now more concerned with quality of life issues and they’ve gone looking to solar, wind and nuclear to reduce pollution levels. They have cool technology that scrubs air like a tree would. They’re coming out of the other side of their brutal experiment in growth, and getting ready to participate in the world market without things like currency manipulation, dumping, and old-fashioned protectionism. It still sounds like a shitty, unfun place to live, but they are progressing to the degree that they can.

So that’s what we know about China.

Wait for it.

I’m gonna make the jump and suggest that Donald Trump would love to turn us into China if he could.

He’s certainly contemptuous towards a free press. His views on so-called libel are dangerous. He could knock the legs out from under fledgling news gatherers by making court impossible to afford (Melania liked to break the will of tiny internet publications by threatening court over whether or not she was a ho). Ironically, Trump himself is an inveterate liar, making up all kinds of crazy stories ranging from the size of his inauguration crowd to claiming that millions of illegals voted in the 2016 election, which he won and still won’t let you forget a year later. Trump cannot really stop the media from reporting on him because of the Constitution-but he has learned to de-legitimize some of it and do an end run around it by using social media to calumniate against whoever opposes him or reports about him negatively. This snow job works on enough folks for it to pose a serious problem.

He wants to put the American environment to the torch. He’s willfully ignorant about global warming. He wants to hollow out the EPA, purging it of experts and making sure no one can discuss climate change within the agency.  He’s extricating the United States from global pacts to reduce emissions. He wants us to go back to the dirtiest sources of energy possible (believing that there’s something called “clean” coal that comes out of the ground as such), drill offshore from sea to shining sea and give companies license to barf their toxins into our land, water and air by rolling back protections. All in the name of growth and business.

The Chinese are famous for being xenophobes. Trump may not be able to spell it, but that is what he is as well. His 2016 campaign was based in no small part upon getting peoples’ Irish up about immigrants and furriners in general. And that wall…amazing, great, beautiful, the best…

Finally, China has a history of currency manipulation. They don’t do it anymore, but in the past, they have allowed the value of the yuan to sink so that Chinese goods cost less in the rest of the world. Steve Mnuchin is totally down with keeping the value of a dollar weak, which may be good for our trade deficit but deleterious in other ways. We are also now dabbling in protectionist tariffs. These economic sleights don’t go unnoticed by the rest of the world, who will begin protecting their markets against our monkey business. And like I mentioned above, we won’t be able to afford Made In The USA because of poor worker protections and wage stagnation. It’s all very strange, because Republican orthodoxy states that markets should be free and now we are closing ourselves off with these aggressive moves, and ducking out of trade pacts. Oh, well. We’ve always been a country whose shadow motto is “do as I say, not as I do”.

Trump and his swamp monsters want to reduce Americans to a populace of serfs. After all, capitalism is just a mutated form of feudalism. It’s servitude with your choice of masters that feels like the exercise of free will. Our lives revolve around the caprice of the corporations and the financiers. However, I think the lords of the feudal past actually gave a shit about their subjects in a way that that Pfizer, Dupont, Cargill, the Kochs and the Mercers do not.

 

 

 

Stunning-Kruger

It’s almost time to say goodbye to 2017. We now know what a full year of a Trump presidency feels like. It’s been like a psychic dog-year to some of us, his antipathetic, weary subjects. Every moronic tweet, every sensible regulation tossed on the pyre, every golf outing is a painful reminder that we have the stupidest, least qualified leader in American history, voted into office by the stupidest, least informed electorate in history. I’d like to say we as a nation have reached something of a nadir, and much like a drunk who has woken up in the gutter missing his shoes we have realized we have hit the bottom.

But I can’t make that call. Yes, it will take some digging to out-stupid Il Douche, but I rest assured you small-minded fuckers on the right will find someone else who can dog whistle the tunes you always come running for who is again just as mercurial, incurious, vacuous and terminally vain as you are.

Yesterday, we learned that you fucking dumbasses made Fox the most watched cable news network of the year, and that irritating cunthair Sean Hannity was the most popular opinion shaper. These are existential danger conditions for the country. Fox is The Mouth, and Sean is your Lewis Prothero blathering about how America Prevails every night. We used to know what to do with fascists. Now we’ve brought it to the homeland, happily indulging in love of party,  profit, The One True God, and that goddamned flag over regular, struggling people. And Merry Christmas, or else. Don’t take a knee if you know what’s good for you.

Have we gone too far to be redeemed? Have our worst impulses turned life in this country into a dull, hostile, nerve-racking gauntlet from which there is no surcease? If the depression epidemic is any indication, perhaps. We have become strangers to each other, on our own when we need us the most. We have enough automation to end the most stultifying of jobs, enough that we could work less and enjoy more of this 18 trillion dollar economy. But instead we’re working more than ever and earning less. Work is our religion, often the only polite thing that people can talk to each other about when they’re not doing it. We’ve taken the yoke so easy, that we barely feel the pain of the prod or the whip anymore.

This is NOT where I planned to go with this post. I wish I had Milo Yiannopoulos’ editor sometimes. I just want to put on the record that Donald Trump must have recently lost one of the two marbles he’s had rolling around in his noggin all this time. I want to mark it because I am re-joining the ranks of people who are not going to normalize the shit he says. I’m gonna get loud instead of get numb.

For some inexplicable reason, now and then the New York Times will allow Donald to get on the record about whatever diddlyshit pops into his empty helmet holder with little or no drilling down. It’s perhaps akin to a wild animal show, where you just get kinda close and observe how they behave. Lemme tell ya, If you are into liars extraordinaire, you will not want to miss this last stream of consciousness “interview”. CNN could not help itself from compiling nearly 50-bullet points detailing the craziest shit he let fly. Charlie Pierce brandishes the interview as prima facie evidence that we are no doubt witnessing a deteriorating mind. “In denial”, remarks Vanity Fair.

One of Donald Trump’s favorite things to do is brag. Dude never misses a moment to aggrandize his achievements, or outright lie about them. The jury is still out on whether or not he knows he’s making things up. There’s a little part of me that thinks he’s doing it to drive liberals insane. And even if he disagrees with us, is this the kind of “poke in the buzzing nest” a real president should engage in? Or is he talking to the millions of people who think he’s sent by God, knowing that none of them will ever question the bullshit he spews?

Yesterday, Trump tweeted about the weather in New York. I ain’t no meteorologist, but I was curious enough at some point to learn that weather =/= climate. Donald didn’t even bother. Like the simpleton that he is, he thinks that short term cold weather snaps mean the globe isn’t heating. And that’s as smart as he or any of his voters will get on the subject because further study runs counter to their heavily vested beliefs that it’s all a hoax perpetuated by scientists so they can keep their jobs and so that the Chinese can outgrow us and that the good Lord would never again let the earth go barren having gotten a guarantee regarding the issue in a 2000 year old book. I don’t have to exaggerate this-legislators and pundits alike keep these legends alive.

There is a third, more troubling explanation for his outrageous bullshitting. He’s doing it to drive liberals insane AND talking to his base who thinks he’s sent by God. That’s a long shot, though. It would mean that Donald Trump has enough agency to divide and conquer. I’m not ready to accept this third hypothesis yet as to why this motherfucker is full of it constantly. But I’ll put it out there anyway-in this unsure world we live in, he might, just might be pulling some sort of rope-a-dope. Again, it’s unlikely that Trump’s a strategic genius, and I’m getting my strings pulled by a master con artist who thrives on disorder. He’s more like a disagreeable Chance the gardener. I have to remind myself that he gets his news of the world through an imbecilic morning show that your racist grandmother watches instead of the president’s daily brief. Let’s not dwell on this third possibility too long.

Best guess really is he is just an ignorant boor who loves the sound of his own nonsensical voice. So if you are feeling a bit masochistic today, do stop by at the links above to remind you what we are all up against. You will find many choice nuggets of horsehockey, like the part where Trump claims that Hillary only wanted the popular vote while Trump The Wise deployed a “50-state” strategy instead. No collusion. And how the way they handled things during the race was much like how one approaches golf or track in that…well, the differences are pure philosophy to hear Trump tell it. No collusion. And how the Mueller investigation is bad for the country (so is colluding to ratfuck an election with a hostile world power). Or that he knows more about big bills than anyone EVER! Yeah, while the country flailed about trying to understand the jury-rigged screw job that Republicans cobbled together in secret, this piece of shit could have led and quelled fears, but didn’t see fit to let us in on his incredible understanding. Some fucking salesman. No collusion. You can also read that he blithely predicts an easy 2020 win, because he’s been so good for all the failing media outlets.

And even if there was collusion, which there wasn’t, it’s not illegal.

The Washington Post tallied that Trump lied 24 times in 30 minutes. That’s 0.8 lies a minute, if I got the division right. That is an amazing pace for making things up.

Tens of millions of people think this is OK. We have our work fucking cut out for us. Y’all have a Happy New Year if I don’t say it on Monday.

Dusk At Racist Castle

There are some who insist that last night’s election is only about Roy Moore’s nasty sexual proclivities and that what Alabamians did last night was merely what was right.

Oh, that’s part of it. But there’s more to consider.

As with the Virginia and New Jersey sweeps last month, the election was also a referendum on The Trump Effect. The Trump Effect states that wherever Donald Trump goes, he wins. Sane Americans have had a soul-wrenching 13 months and we are shocked but excited when Trump is the albatross he ought to be. After all, he did support Luther Strange too. I think, albeit guardedly that his mojo is nothing but dumb fucking luck. The mojo is becoming a curse. We will learn more about what the Effect’s effect really is soon enough.

Remember, remember, the 6th of November.

It also repudiated neolithic conservatism. Roy Moore is everything that’s wrong with the South and wingnuts in general-a gun toting, bible thumping white racist yahoo who is so fucking conservative he took a horse to the polls in an age where cars are starting to drive themselves. The Lord abandoned a relic like Roy, as did we-a move that would get Him in my good graces if I became silly and believed in Him.

We also showed that we can win at the polls. Despite numerous attempts to keep people from voting, enough voters showed up to do their duty. Last night, we put everyone on notice that if you suck, you will be removed no matter what kind of bullshit you try to pull. Everyone involved in tearing this country apart under the aegis of Donald Trump is officially reachable by ballot.

I cried last night for Alabama. The good people there have hope instead of the obsidian-colored gloom that coats daily living in America since November of 2016. And we all share in that hope, because Mitch McConnell’s usual job of ratfucking the country just got exponentially more difficult. If the tax bill mess is not done in by the usual GOP defectors, it’s possible that Mitch may be able to get a vote to the floor before Jones is seated between December 26 and January 3. But shenanigans after that will require more discipline and…gasp…compromise. Running the country by reconciliation and lockouts is not a winning strategy, to the degree that it ever was.

Lost in all of the layers of peculiarities of the Alabama senate race is the ineluctable fact that Democrats did this. Oh, a couple thousand smart dumb asses showed up to write someone in as a protest, but not enough to throw the election to Moore. We now know that we can win without the perennially unsatisfied who do not seem to grasp the glacial nature of our politics. It is a slow walk to progress, not a sprint. We get there by doing the work instead of bitching. I barely know Doug Jones, but I know he’s not a a gun toting, bible thumping white racist yahoo and that will do for a start.

Perhaps he will throw his lot in with folks like Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp in checking what they would call the excesses of their party. So be it. I am hoping that Jones will play ball instead, because the sky is the limit for a southern Democrat.

Yes, that is what I am implying. We’ve had two southern Democrats lead the party in my lifetime. I think there certainly are others already elected who deserve to spear the brass ring before a freshman (women in particular), but I’ll leave the strategery to Perez and Ellison. Last night showed that the pair is engaged and ready to beat the fucking tar out of anyone shameless enough to ally themselves with President Crazytweet.

I expect fear and trembling from The Hill to the White House. It will be disguised by false confidence but we know that they all hear a tick-tick-tick now that will haunt them, portending a fiery event that will eventually consume the Trumpists and the Lafferites and the conspiracy theorists and the dynamic scorers and the warmongers and the Freedom Caucus and the theocrats and the plutocrats and all the other god-damned kakistocrats I might have left out on the right that are trying to hollow out our government so it doesn’t work for us anymore.

UPDATE: For those of you playing the home game, I should point out that it was black Democrats that really carried the day, particularly black women. This is what the exit polls looked like (HT Meg The Perky Intern):

black

 

Knockdown In Round Two

Yesterday, it seemed like the end for the struggle to preserve benefits, protections and entitlements for millions of people across the country was imminent. The GOP looked unified enough to pull it off and take it all, desperate for some sort of victory no matter how Pyrrhic it would be once regular people felt the bite. They were ready to commit massive legislative arson just so they could please their wealthy donors in this cussed Citizens United era.

There was a snag last night when deficit hawks had reservations, but we’re all still on the hook at the moment. We might be losing the light yet.

But fuck all that. I know it’s important, but hang on.

Robert Mueller pulled another string.

He’s got Michael Flynn in his talons and he ain’t going to jail even a minute for one Donald J. Trump.

As they say in chess: Check.

And it looks like an ugly check, a nasty, sickening game-fucking fork that will cost King Dipshit his protective pieces, and when that happens, it’s only a matter of time before white chases him around the board where no space is safe.

I knew something was up yesterday. Trump is erratic at best on normal days, so it’s hard to read anything into his behavior. But he went berserk this week. It started with “honoring” Native American veterans in front of a portrait of the asshole who signed the Indian Removal Act, and like the 6 year old imp that he is, he proceeded to take a bizarre shot at Elizabeth Warren (as if to say “While I’m on the subject of Indians…“), a shot that no doubt confused the honorees and eventually pissed off much of the Native American community. He accused Joe Scarborough of murder, mused as to whether the pussy grabbing recording was real, told people in private that he still isn’t sure about Barack Obama’s birthplace, dribbled something about a fake news contest, dragged NFL players, CNN, The New York Times, I mean he whipped out all the greatest hits and made up some new ones. And then yesterday, he’s out there retweeting British anti-Islamic/white supremacist material, material that was without basis in reality. Now since Trump has been in office, he has NEVER taken responsibility or apologized for anything he has said or done and that did not change here. Sarah Sanders dutifully put on her ever increasing volume of warpaint (perhaps to unnerve the press corps) and basically said Trump is right, even when his proof is wrong. Oy vey.

All of it made my spidey senses tingle. I’ve never been fond of the notion that this twat of a president has any clue what he is doing. So many pixels have been wasted positing that Trump is a master of distraction. But the sum total of his miscues and outbursts this week suggested to me that his nerves were frayed about something. There may or may not be a little bird who has seen Mueller’s flop cards whispering in Humperdoo’s ear. This may be causing a bit of mania and rightfully, paranoia. Again, the things he does, says and types unintentionally muddies the water. Put simply, the dude is spazzing out. And the level of spaz might be a hint that trouble is coming…coming for him.

We may yet lose this country, what’s left of it for us normal folks anyway. But Justice, a severe and merciless bitch of a goddess, will not be denied her sacrifice. Maybe we will come out the other side of this caring more about each other after having been lied to and treated so badly by our putative leaders. My hopes are chastened, though. It only took five short years after Nixon left town in disgrace to bring us to Ronald Reagan’s senile reign of error.

We don’t learn from our mistakes here in America. We repeat them, with pride. But for now, let’s celebrate that our modern Caligula, this mad hatter of a misbegotten president is going down soon, hopefully taking his conspirators with him.

 

 

 

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