3/24/2017

The Fuck Was That Trump Interview in Time?

No, really, what the every-humping fuck was that interview that President Donald "I Toot Truck Horn Real Good" Trump did with Michael Scherer of Time magazine? Ostensibly, it was about "truth" and "falsehood," but, as you can read in many places, it was filled with so many lies that it was less a discussion of political reality and more "Grandpa tells you about that big fish he caught that one time."

But the other thing that comes through is just how pathetically weird and confused and obsessed our goddamn president is. Look at this line from towards the end of the interview: "I inherited a mess with jobs, despite the statistics, you know, my statistics are even better, but they are not the real statistics because you have millions of people that can’t get a job, ok." What does that even say? Because it sounds like "Numbers aren't numbers unless they're my numbers but my numbers are too good to be true because if they're right that means that the earlier numbers are right so fuck numbers and go with what I think is true."

It's mind-boggling in its utter and complete degradation of language and logic. As Trump has proven time and again, George W. Bush was a goddamned member of the Algonquin Round Table by comparison. And Trump's ego is so fragile that it's like house made of tissue-paper cards. He wants you to know that he is a genius: "I’m a very instinctual person, but my instinct turns out to be right. When everyone said I wasn’t going to win the election, I said well I think I would." Motherfucker, that's not instinct. That's being a candidate for office. Of course, you think you're gonna win. Why brag about that? It's like saying, "Man, no one thought I was going to take a shit today, but, I took a shit. I showed them."

His reaction to the subject of the interview was to keep insisting that he was right about everything and that proves he doesn't lie. Like his constant refrain that he predicted that the United Kingdom would vote in June to leave the EU. Well, on June 1, he didn't even know what the fuck Brexit was. He did say that he supported Brexit, but he didn't make any predictions. This is going to become his new "I was against the Iraq War" as he repeats that he was right about the vote: "Brexit, I predicted Brexit, you remember that, the day before the event. I said, no, Brexit is going to happen, and everybody laughed, and Brexit happened." What did he really say the day before the vote? More or less, "What the fuck do I know? Have you met me?"

Then we move from mere bullshit to absolutely delusional. It's not enough that he lied about his "prediction." It's gotta become a dramatic tale about how "everyone" was against him while he stood strong and was proven right. Later in the interview, unprompted, he brings up Brexit again: "I got attacked on Brexit, when I was saying, I said long before the day before, I said the day before the opening, but I was saying Brexit was going to pass, and everybody was laughing, and I turned out to be right on that. I took a lot of heat when I said Brexit was going to pass."

In one discussion, he went from everyone laughing at him for predicting something the day before the Brexit vote to "long before" that he was saying it despite being attacked. It's the story that Trump wants desperately to be true about himself, that he is some irrational dreamer who stood firm against the odds and succeeded. And, you know, when it came to winning the presidency, he was right, except for the thumbs of Putin and Comey being on the scale. But even that is more like when he opened up the Trump Taj Mahal when everyone told him he was crazy to do it. Sure, it opened and then it all came crashing down. That bankrupt hulk of a building is about to become someone else's water park.

When someone believes their own mythology, they become parodies of themselves. Trump has never not been that parody, and now, as his supposedly legendary dealmaking ability falls to pieces in the health care bill debacle, he is frantically trying to maintain the illusion of the myth. Without that myth, he's just a sad old man in an ill-fitting suit who wants to play truck driver.

3/22/2017

Judge Neil Gorsuch Is a Dick

The confirmation hearings for any presidential nominee are just pantomimes of democracy, with everyone going through the motions and nothing really being learned. It's even worse for Supreme Court justice hearings, where the party of the president who did the nominating pretty much just finger fucks the nominee while the opposing party tries to get the nominee to express an opinion on any goddamned issue and the nominee repeatedly says, "No, go fuck yourself, not gonna say it" to a series of questions that boil down to "Abortion? C'mon. Abortion? Tell us. We already know. But tell us. Goddamnit, speak!"

Every once in a while, a moment or two can rise above the drone. In the case of Judge Neil Gorsuch, the not-Merrick Garland nominee, those moments were mostly when he was a total fucking dick. For instance, he got pissy with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, who is a damn lawyer, when she kept telling him, politely, "Dude, you don't have to explain a case to me because, see, I'm a damn lawyer" but Gorsuch just had to keep explaining as if that dumb chick didn't get what he was saying.

Even more intense was Minnesota's other senator, Al Franken, who went on the fuckin' warpath against Gorsuch over the judge's dissent in the TransAm Trucking v. Administrative Review Board case. That's the one where this truck driver's brakes locked on his trailer in temperatures that were reaching -27 degrees. The driver was told he could either stay with the truck, where the heater wasn't working, and await help, or he could drag the trailer to a truck stop or something. When the driver realized he was freezing to death, he said, in essence, "F-f-f-f-fuck this," detached the cab, and drove to some place so he wouldn't die. And his company fired him. The driver complained to OSHA, and the case reached the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which sided 2-1 with the driver.

Gorsuch's dissent says, more or less, "Sorry, motherfucker. You should have become a truckersicle." Actually, that's a bit less dickish than the actual opinion. Because, see, any judge who starts something with "A trucker was stranded on the side of the road, late at night, in cold weather, and his trailer brakes were stuck" and doesn't end it with either a punchline about the trucker fucking a farmer's daughter or a conclusion that the driver should make sure he doesn't die is just an unrepentant cock.

(Spoiler: No farmer's daughter. Gorsuch is just an unrepentant cock.)

For Gorsuch, the law that said that employers can't fire employees who won't operate vehicles for safety reasons didn't apply in this situation and that the law needed to be changed. Or, as he prickishly puts it, "Maybe someday Congress will adorn our federal statute books with such a law. But it isn’t there yet." Gorsuch goes to great pains to be a dick about the meaning of the word "operate" as it refers to this situation. He sees the driver's decision to drive the cab away as clearly violating what his employer told him and, you know, fuck him if he lost toes and fingers. Gorsuch uses an analogy here: "Imagine a boss telling an employee he may either 'operate' an office computer as directed or 'refuse to operate' that computer. What serious employee would take that as license to use an office computer not for work but to compose the great American novel? Good luck." Yeah, he actually wrote "Good luck" in there. Just the kind of a "argle-bargle" to warm the hearts of Scalia corpse-fellaters everywhere.

By the way, as far as that analogy goes, it sucks. How about this: If a thief was coming at you with a knife and you used your computer to block the blow, would it be fine for your boss to fire you for misusing equipment? That's a proper fuckin' analogy in this situation, dickhead, because it's life or death.

But the dick take too far, the one that Franken and others have noted, is when Gorsuch dismisses what he sees as the egregious stretching of logic by the majority for the law to include common sense notions of health and safety. Or, as he emphasizes, "Especially to ends as ephemeral and generic as 'health and safety.' After all, what under the sun, at least at some level of generality, doesn’t relate to 'health and safety'?"

It's mind-boggling that in a case that involves, beyond doubt, health and safety that you would question a person's decision to not die. But Gorsuch wasn't done being a dick. His job, he said, is to follow the letter of the law and "not to use the law as a sort of springboard to combat all perceived evils lurking in the neighborhood." Again, it needs to be said, no one was asking the court to "combat" anything. He concludes, wearily, "[I]t is our job and work enough for the day to apply the law Congress did pass, not to imagine and enforce one it might have but didn’t."

That's the dickiest part of this. If Gorsuch sees some insidious intent, like writing laws from the bench, in this simple a situation, what's gonna happen when it comes to things like torture? Or campaign finance? Or, well, abortion?

Watch him for five minutes in the hearing. You'll think, "What a pompous, self-righteous, smug little..." you know.

3/20/2017

Advice to Democrats: Comey Has Given You Your Battle Plan on Gorsuch

It doesn't get any easier than this, dear Democrats. You want something to rally around? You want something that can give you a principled stand against the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court? Here you go.

Today, FBI Director James "But Her Emails" Comey stated, in as plain a language as one could ask from a rat-faced ratfucker, the FBI is investigating "the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts."

Roll that around in your head for a moment. The FBI. Is investigating. Trump campaign. Russia. Coordination. Think about the fact that when the FBI was investigating Hillary Clinton, the Republican National Committee declared that it "should be disqualifying for anyone seeking the presidency, a job that is supposed to begin each morning with a top secret intelligence briefing." Put aside any snark about Trump and his inability to sit through an intelligence briefing or having intelligence. Instead, ponder the idea that the Republican Party declared Clinton unqualified for the presidency because of an FBI investigation. Not the conclusion of it. Not the finding of any criminal activity. The investigation, which, to be as fair as possible to bastards, does seem suspicious as hell in any situation.

Also today, the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch got under way in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Under normal circumstances, Gorsuch would just be a garden variety conservative cockknob, but these are not normal circumstances since Merrick Garland should have been confirmed last year. But, as we know, the GOP is made up of syphilitic lepers who spread their diseases to democracy every chance they get with their scabby genitals. So they created a new rule: No Supreme Court confirmations in the last year before an election. It makes no sense at all. And Democrats should have gone to the motherfuckin' barricades on that, but, alas, they did not, because they are Democrats. So here we are with Gorsuch.

So here's a chance at redemption, dear, dumb, defeated Democrats in the Senate. A simple plan for a vile time. It goes like this: You cannot consider the Supreme Court nominations of Donald Trump until he is cleared by the FBI (and any other U.S. intelligence agency investigating him) of possible collusion with a foreign power to affect the presidential election. The Gorsuch hearings should be shut down until that time. In fact, you should say that you don't believe anyone nominated for a lifetime appointment by Trump should be considered by the Senate until the investigation is done, but you don't have the filibuster to use on other positions.

Go even further. State that anyone who does believe that Trump's SCOTUS nominees should be confirmed is, in essence, also colluding with the Russians, if the FBI discovers Trump has done so. Ask GOP senators if they're willing to take that risk.

See how easy this is? Take the playing field away from the Republicans. Force them to react. Force them to own Trump. Force them to eat his failure and choke on his corruption. Democrats have a stronger anti-confirmation case now than Republicans ever did with Obama.

At the end of the day, they're probably gonna nuke the SCOTUS filibuster rule if Democrats don't roll over and offer to let the GOP fuck them. So make it hurt. Make them just this side of traitors and make them fuckin' sweat awaiting the outcome of the investigation to see if they're nudged across the line.

All you gotta do is stop fucking colluding, too, Democrats.

3/17/2017

The More Mundane Savagery of Donald Trump's Budget

Olive Hill, Kentucky, is a shitty town of poor people in a beautiful area of Kentucky, in Carter County, near the border where the state meets both Ohio and West Virginia. The population is pretty much 100% white, about a third of the population lives at or below the poverty line, and one out of every 79 residents is a registered sex offender. And the water system in town is so outdated that "Two surveys estimate a 45-50 percent water loss due to corroded piping." You can bet there are issues with the quality of that water coming from the corroded cast iron waterline. But the town, which voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by 74% to 22%, just got a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, a cooperative effort of the state and federal governments to help some of the poorest areas of the country. The $243,000 grant may not seem like much, but for a small town like Olive Hill, it'll be transformative for the health and well-being of the people there.

ARC was part of the Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965, passed on a bipartisan basis, signed by LBJ. The whole thing came about after John F. Kennedy had a report done on the ludicrous poverty under which people were living in the Appalachian area, which includes 13 states. Their governors, mostly Republicans, but some Democrats, sit on the commission (Kentucky's own Matt Bevins works with them constantly, and he's a bastard) along with a presidential appointee. That's currently Earl Gohl, who was confirmed by a voice vote in the Senate in 2010. So since its creation, ARC has been a fairly noncontroversial program.

In fact, you could argue it is doing more for the coal miners than Donald Trump could ever manage. ARC helped give nearly $3 million in a grant to an effort called TechHire Eastern Kentucky in order to retrain workers for jobs in technology and communications, with a big push for investment in the region for the development of a tech sector. The first pilot class of trainees had 1600 applicants for roughly 50 seats. It's a start.

Carter County and most of Eastern Kentucky are in what ARC calls "Distressed Counties," 84 areas that ARC is directing aid and grants to try to pull the region out of poverty, with another 100 or so counties considered "At Risk" for slipping into the "Distressed" category. The agency funded 400 projects last year. In fiscal 2015, ARC was responsible for finding jobs for over 23,000 people. This is in addition to the infrastructure spending, including electricity, telecommunications, roads, and, yes, water. A couple of dozen of the funded projects had to do with drinking water in the region.

ARC requested a budget of $120 million for this fiscal year. If Donald Trump's budget were to pass, it would get nothing. Yet 400 out of 420 counties covered by ARC voted for Trump, believing he would rebuild their communities and bring them jobs.

There is so much savagery in Trump's proposed and likely destined-to-fail budget that it's almost impossible to take it all in. There are the cuts that will guarantee job loss, cuts that will kick people out of homes, cuts that will kill medical research, cuts that will poison us, cuts that will make us unsafe and insecure, all to justify building up the military to face enemies that are either greatly inflated or created by Trump and his evil buffoons. And, of course, so we can give more money to rich people.

No, ARC isn't quite as easily identifiable as Meals on Wheels. But think about Olive Hill and its fucked-up water. $243,000 barely qualifies as a molecule in a drop in the bucket of the federal budget. But for the couple of thousand people who live there, it means that they won't have to worry about simply getting water from their faucets. The whole area needs more help with chemicals in the water. ARC was funding some projects to improve it, but between its funding cut and the slashing of the budget of the EPA, well, we should all invest in bottled water. It'll probably be currency before long. Oh, and the health care that they get from Kynect to help with any health issues related to the water? That'll be gone, baby, gone.

And let's not forget: Trump is doing this to people who overwhelmingly voted for him; they're his goddamn base. What the fuck is he gonna do to the rest of us?

This is such class warfare that Trump may as well just send troops into the poor areas of the nation, the inner cities that he promised to make flourish, the Rust Belt communities, the shack towns of Appalachia, and fuckin' set 'em all on fire. After they're wiped out, he can declare that he's helped make the nation even greater by eliminating poverty.

But in 2020, most of 'em will line up to vote for Trump again and chant, "Lock her up," as if that will create jobs, clean the air and water, feed them, house them, and get them health care.

3/15/2017

Um, Why Is No One Talking About Trump Wanting to Reorganize the Government?

I get that we're all tied up in discussing the scrap of tax forms that were leaked by someone who is totally not Donald Trump (wink), the Republican health care plan that is like Stupidity fucked Cruelty who then gave birth to it, the skeevy as hell China deals being done by, apparently, everybody associated with Family Trump, and, just today, the president's promise to, and I think this is a quote, "Fuck the climate like it's the asshole of a hundred-ruble whore in Moscow." But one other thing has gone down this week that perhaps bears a word or two.

Like a gathering of albino weasels, Trump had his first cabinet meeting on Monday. He made some fairly incoherent remarks that were filled with the now-expected array of lies, like that Democrats are holding up the confirmation of the final four cabinet posts when, you know, they're not. But if Trump has a chance to be a complete dickhead, he will unzip: "We're in the midst of getting going, Wilbur, and they won’t approve somebody who is highly qualified, and everybody understands that. The main victim of this very partisan obstruction is the American public."

There was the usual begging for praise, as when he bragged about his utterly useless hike in military spending, saying to Secretary Mattis, "And I saved a lot of money on those jets, didn't I? Did I do a good job? More than $725 million on them. He’s very happy with me."

And, after shitting on Obamacare for the hell of it, there was the typical Barnum-style promotion. This wasn't just gonna be a cabinet meeting. This was a motherfuckin' Cabinet Meeting: "I hope this is going to be a historic cabinet meeting -- historic in the sense that we're going to do a fantastic job for the American people, for our country, and for the future of our country."

But the main business of the day was something that Trump brought up briefly. It's a new executive order that he signed on a "Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch." Now that sounds innocuous enough. That's the way Trump described it: "Right after this meeting, we’ll be signing a new executive order to begin the process of reorganizing the executive branch to make it less wasteful and more productive." No muss, no fuss. Just a little housecleaning, right?

Except no. Here is the purpose of the EO, which goes a little further than dusting the ceiling fan blades: "This order is intended to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch by directing the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Director) to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies (as defined in section 551(1) of title 5, United States Code), components of agencies, and agency programs." That means that Trump wants to know what agencies and programs he can eliminate. Maybe that's why Trump nominated people to head agencies they wanted destroyed.

It all sounds innocuous enough. In six months, the agency heads need to justify their existence and let Jared or Steve know if they can be streamlined. Then, after six more months of public comment and other "input" that Jared and Steve won't give two shits about, Trump can sign another executive order saying, "Adios, Department of Education. Heckuva job, Betsy." That's not reading into it. That's exactly what it says:

"Within 180 days after the closing date for the submission of suggestions pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the Director shall submit to the President a proposed plan to reorganize the executive branch in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of agencies. The proposed plan shall include, as appropriate, recommendations to eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs, and to merge functions." And if they can palm it off on a state or local government, even better.

A few crazed and wise bloggers have picked up on this, but it deserves a deeper dive and some context. Why is this being done? What is the goal? Are there agencies or programs that they have in mind for cutting or merging?

And, most importantly, what actual fuckery is this just a cover for? As the budget is slashed for the State Department and the EPA, with more to come, yeah, Mr. Donald President, the American people will be the victims.

3/14/2017

GOP Straight Up Wants People to Die (Almost Literally)

Here is where we are in the fucked-up political realm right now (with proper use of the word "literally"):

Democrats literally saved the lives of thousands of people, as surely as if they had jumped into the Cumberland River to rescue a drowning Kentuckian. And many of those thousands of people voted against Democrats because saving their lives just wasn't enough to overcome emails.

Now, Republicans are proposing something that will literally kill thousands of people, as surely as if they had tossed that drowning Kentuckian an anchor and then shot him when he came up for air.  And there is a good chance that many of those thousands who will be killed or their families and friends will still vote for the Republicans because getting killed is a small price to pay for whatever bullshit illusion of "freedom" the GOP is selling.

That word, "freedom," and another, "access," are what Republicans want you to believe about the American Health Care Act, or, you know, Trumpcare. But those are utterly meaningless terms in this context. If I want, I can tell my employer to fuck off and keep their health insurance because my choices are "limited" to the four plans offered, and then I can go on the open market to pay my hard-earned cash on whatever the hell I want, with my freedom to access every policy out there, except, you know, for the fact that I couldn't afford shit, no matter how allegedly "affordable" Republicans think they can make it.

My health insurance is limited to what my employer offers, like the majority of Americans. Obamacare made it better, with the elimination of pre-existing condition exclusions, no upper limits, and more. Trumpcare will end up making it worse by getting rid of a bunch of things all policies are supposed to cover now. Yes, a punch in the nuts is still better than being shot while drowning, but, you know, it's still a punch in the nuts.  Mostly, though, we'll still have the same amount of access and freedom we generally had or didn't have before.

So what's the game here? Is it just that giving the wealthy billions of dollars in tax cuts worth kicking 24 million people off health insurance or pricing them out of it, thus damning them to having either minimal or no coverage and assuring that more people will die? I mean, honestly, the only way this bill makes sense is if Republicans are actively wanting people to die.

I've got a few ideas.

See, Paul Ryan is an exceedingly cruel and stupid man surrounded by exceedingly cruel and stupid people. We can lie and pretend that he's some crazy political genius, but, basically, he's the least creepy option for putting a face on an ideology that is corrupt, hateful, and doomed to failure. And because of how stupid he is, he is going to keep trying to bring that ideology to fruition, consequences be damned, because he's trying to prove something. Something stupid, but something, something free markets, freedom, access, magic, "I'm a hero."

Look at Ryan this way: He is a fluffer on the set of a 1980s gay male porn video who hopes one day to be director, and he's desperately trying to get an erection out of a coked-up star so that shooting can continue. When the producer finally says that it's useless, that dick ain't gonna get hard, shut it down for the day, fuck, we lost a ton of money, who is he gonna blame? Not the star. He's the one you put on the VHS cover that gets sales. No, you blame Paul Ryan, sitting there, red-faced, lips sore, mouth muscles aching, and you fire his ass.

Ryan trusted Trump because Trump pretended to trust Ryan. So Ryan was cornered into putting out a bill, even one so shitty that members of his party are running away from it. Trump's people will pay lip service to the bill until it is assured to fail. Then Trump is gonna destroy Ryan to put in his own lackey. Because what Ryan doesn't realize is that everything the GOP does is about Trump. It is about keeping Trump untouchable. Ryan got played. And then, like crazed religious parents who refuse to get their sick child a doctor because God is supposed to be on call, Trump will let Obamacare slowly die in order to say that he was right all along, consolidating his power. People dying in order to make his point is just dressing on this barbaric salad. He can build his throne out of their bones.

The only thing preventing wholesale upheaval in the country right now is that enough voters have sucked down the Trump chowder that they will still believe this mad president over their own dying minds.

(If I were conspiracy-minded, I'd say this health care bill is like putting into action racist shit-huffer Congressman, and man most likely to have never received a blow job, Steve King's appeal to "Make Western Civilization Great Again," as he put it yesterday. You wanna get rid of a bunch of non-whites in this country so you can "restore our civilization" with white babies? And you can't just round them up and murder them in open pits, no matter what the #whitegenocide dumbass prickholes want? Well, the next best thing is to thin the ranks of the impure by denying them health care and letting disease and untreated injuries and illnesses take them away. It's a fuckin' Steve Bannon wet dream.)

3/10/2017

One Brief Example of the Insane Hypocrisy of the GOP on the Health Care Bill

It's really one of the weirdest things in the American Health Care Act, the bullshit bill that bullshit Republicans rolled out so their bullshit president could declare that he was St. Donald fighting the Affordable Care Act dragon. From pages 10-16, the bill's authors lay out the conditions by which MegaMillions and Powerball and other winners would have to pay for their own damn health insurance. That new part takes up a tenth of the length of the entire 66 page bill that escaped Mario Kart character Sean Spicer jigged around and pointed at for its brevity, contrasting it with the monstrously huge stack of pages that make up Obamacare (yeah, the black guy's was bigger and you could do more with it).

And the lottery section is just bizarrely precise in talking about the conditions when a lottery winner wouldn't be able to get Medicaid: "a State shall, in determining such eligibility, include such winnings or income (as applicable) as income received— (I) in the month in which such winnings or income (as applicable) is received if the amount of such winnings or income is less than $80,000; (II) over a period of 2 months if the amount of such winnings or income (as applicable) is greater than or equal to $80,000 but less than $90,000; (III) over a period of 3 months if the amount of such winnings or income (as applicable) is greater than or equal to $90,000 but..." You get the idea. Obsessively detailed, no?

This is easy to mock in a "God, how fucking dumb are they?" kind of way. Except, instead, looking at why this language is in the bill reveals something just a little more sinister about the hypocrisy under which the GOP is operating to commit this health care fuckery.

One of the reasons that Republicans are desperately trying to cram the bill through like a limp cock on an unlubed asshole is because the Congressional Budget Office hasn't finished its scoring of the bill to see what its effects might be. When the CBO is done, it will likely reveal that the AHCA is, as previously mentioned, a bullshit bill that will cost a bit less money but kick millions of people off health insurance. Republicans in the House, at least, are trying to maintain the illusion that they're not just complete twat mites who want to straight up murder people to give the wealthy a tax cut, but, yeah, that's pretty much what's going on.

A cynical reader might be thinking, "Well, sure, everyone loves the CBO when it gives them the numbers they want. What's the big deal?" But that's not quite cynical enough.

See, the lottery exclusion up there was actually first brought up in 2016 because, apparently, there are enough winners to make a big damn difference: "Using the typical per capita cost for Medicaid adults, this provision would reduce direct spending by $475 million over the 2016-2026 period." You know who came up with that nearly half-billion dollars in savings because of a seemingly odd provision? The Congressional Budget Office.

That's the depth of hypocrisy occurring here. The Republicans need the CBO's figures to write their goddamn bill, but they are running scared from the CBO when it comes to the final bill's effects on Americans. That's the incredible dickishness involved here.