Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Continued Stray Thoughts on the Current Political Situation

With the cascade of stupid, immoral, illegal, subversive, un-American, and possibly treasonous things emitted by der Sturmtrumper, his pet Congress, his supporters, and his administration reaching levels that make it nearly impossible for any sane person to keep up with, I’ve started just keeping a running list of observations on the matter.  Every time the list reaches critical mass, I suppose I’ll post it and start a new one.  Can’t hurt; might help.  Here’s the most recent list:


1. Sweet dancing monkeys on a stick but these things come fast and furious these days.  The malfeasance from der Sturmtrumper and his minions, supporters, cronies, lackeys, and sycophants flows out like water from a firehose, drowning the republic in nonsense, sleaze, wannabe petit-Fascism, and slack-jawed lunacy, and it’s all anyone can do to keep up with it and still have time to eat dinner.  Sometimes I wonder how this will look, years from now, when we have time to reflect on it.  And sometimes I wonder if that time will ever really come again.

2. Der Sturmtrumper having lost the popular vote and being sustained by a party that routinely wins legislative majorities without actually having majority support among voters, it is not at all surprising that he and the GOP are actively working to make sure that only the right-wing can actually vote.  Perhaps that will make their failures less embarrassing.  Key to this effort is the Voter Suppression Czar, Kris Kobach.  Kobach has a long track record of working to keep American citizens from casting the ballots they were entitled to cast – his disenfranchisement of over 35,000 voters in his home state of Kansas was so blatantly illegal that the US Court of Appeals – in an opinion written by a conservative judge appointed by George W. Bush – had to step in and overturn a clear “mass violation of a fundamental constitutional right.”  Yet this is the guy der Sturmtrumper chose to lead the voter suppression charge at the federal level.  Having been slapped down by federal judges, he is now working to get the federal laws changed so his disenfranchisement tactics will no longer be illegal.  And he’s been trying to deny doing so ever since last November.   If you think American citizens should have a say in their own government, Kobach should disgust you.

3. According to a recent poll by the Washington Post and the University of Maryland, over 70% of Americans think that our politics has reached a dangerous low point, that der Sturmtrumper’s administration is dysfunctional, and that Congress is even worse.  The number of Americans who are not proud of the way American democracy functions has doubled since der Sturmtrumper’s inauguration, from 18% to 36%, and that figure includes about a quarter of der Sturmtrumper’s own supporters.  Most Americans (51%) blame der Sturmtrumper for this deterioration – more than blame the GOP (38%) or the Democrats (32%), which at least shows some sign of awareness.  Folks, this kind of declining faith in democracy is a rehash of what the Western world saw in the 1930s.  That didn’t end very well then and it won’t end well now.

4. The former ambassador from Mexico is reporting that the US State Department is telling world leaders to stay at der Sturmtrumper’s hotels when they visit.  And the Party of Patriotism And Values sees nothing wrong with this latest violation of the emoluments clause.  Remember, folks – laws and Constitutions are for other people, not Republicans.

5. So the indictments are in, and those of you who had Paul Manafort in the office pool as the first domino to fall can collect your prizes.  Rick Gates was a bit of a surprise, and George Papadopoulos was an even bigger reveal.  Mueller is going about this methodically, and with the aggressive tactics appropriate for taking down a crime family.  Stay tuned for more fireworks.

6. The more immediately significant revelation was Papadopoulos, who a) pled guilty to the charges brought against him (as one observer put it, the question in front of us has now changed from whether der Sturmtrumper colluded with an enemy power to how much) and b) has apparently been talking about what he knows to Mueller’s team.  This is how you break crime families – you snare the little guys, get them to talk about the bigger guys, and work your way up the food chain.  My guess is that it is a rough time to be in the White House these days, what with the walls closing in and all.

7. As the New York Times put it, “You know it’s a bad day for the White House when the president’s former campaign chairman is charged with money laundering, tax fraud, making false statements and failing to register as a foreign agent – and that is only the second most damaging story of the morning.”

8. Manafort should not be underestimated as a catch, however.  He’s the guy who gutted the traditional anti-Russia stance in the GOP platform when he came on.  He’s the guy who brought in Toady Pence for the VP nomination.  And with Pence on board, Manafort had a direct line to der Sturmtrumper whenever he wanted it, no matter what his official capacity in the campaign or administration was.  So not only does this bring Manafort’s charges into fairly significant relief, but it also goes some way toward implicating Pence in all of this.  And if Pence goes you’re left with Paul Ryan, unless this drags on past next November and the House flips Democratic, in which case you could very well be left with Nancy Pelosi.  Don’t think that doesn’t give GOP bigwigs the heebie-jeebies.

9. Naturally der Sturmtrumper has been launching Twitter ragestorms about the fact that it isn’t Hillary Clinton being investigated, and even more naturally his superpatriotic minions of doom have been blindly echoing the tantrums from the White House shitter.  This is, of course, the exact distraction campaign that any even halfway intelligent observer expected, and can be safely dismissed out of hand.

10. It is entirely possible that der Sturmtrumper will try to pardon Manafort before he can be flipped – or, even more likely, Gates – and if that happens all hell will break loose as there could be no clearer evidence of guilt and criminal activity than that (accepting a pardon is legal admission of guilt) and then Gates will lose his 5th Amendment right to remain silent since legally he can no longer incriminate himself.  But all this presumes that der Sturmtrumper has the political capital even to attempt it.  For a guy who in theory is in charge of the party that controls every branch of the federal government, he is incredibly weak.  He has zero major legislative achievements in his first ten months – none whatsoever.  His biggest headline was the flaming collapse of Republicare.  [EDIT: "His biggest headline was FOUR flaming collapses of Republicare, each more spectacular than the last."  (Thanks, Jack!)]  His next big mission is a tax plan that the overwhelming majority of Americans don’t want.  His approval ratings remain stuck at Nixon-during-Watergate levels.  His base is starting to turn on him, though admittedly not nearly as much as a patriotic American would have hoped they would.  Yes, he has a hardcore support of cultists who by their own declaration would not abandon him if he were caught raping children on live television – who have said that there was literally nothing he could do to make them stop supporting him – but that will only get you so far.

11. And even if he does try to pardon Manafort and Gates, those investigations are being paralleled by state investigations that are beyond the president’s pardoning power.  So there is backup.

12. Even John Yoo – the Bush Jr. official who was the driving force behind getting the US to make torture part of official American policy – thinks that pardoning any of the people involved would be a political disaster.  When the torturer thinks you’re heading down the wrong path, perhaps you should rethink your life choices.

13. The next question, of course, is what will happen when der Sturmtrumper tries to fire Mueller.  He’s already being given cover for such a corrupt move by no less than the Wall Street Journal, which is apparently willing to fall for the Distraction Stories if it helps their corporate agenda.  And of course Fox – which refused even to cover the Manafort and Gates indictments in any meaningful way, because why broadcast stories of major presidential aides being indicted for “conspiring against the United States” when there are hamburger emojis to evaluate? – is yapping along with that, since what else would the propaganda arm of the GOP do?  If that happens there will be a political and Constitutional crisis, as the open corruption of the GOP will be there for all to see and only the faint hope of a moral and political backbone in a few GOP Representatives and Senators to avoid chaos.  Make no mistake – the American Constitutional system is teetering and der Sturmtrumper and his minions are more than happy to push it over the edge and watch it burn if it means more power for them.

14. One of the more interesting little tidbits to emerge from all of this is that a judge has denied some attorney-client privilege to Manafort.  Attorney-client privilege is one of the bedrocks of the American legal system, as it allows a defendant to be honest with their attorney so that the attorney can present a good defense in court.  But there are rare exceptions, and in this case the judge granted Mueller a “crime-fraud” exception.  And therein hangs a tale, because as Dahlia Lithwick put it in Slate, “Behind any successful crime-fraud exception application there is almost certainly one hell of a story.”  Basically this means that the judge is convinced that there is sufficient evidence that Manafort’s previous attorney or attorneys aided and abetted his criminal acts.  The rule of thumb, according to the Slate article, is that you can tell your lawyer where you buried the bodies, but you can’t get advice on how to bury bodies.  One is an honest description of your actions.  The other is your lawyer aiding and abetting your crimes.  For Manafort to lose that decision is a powerful indication of just how criminal he has been.

15. In other news, a federal judge has blocked der Sturmtrumper’s halfwitted policy barring military service by transgendered troops, because American citizens should be treated as American citizens after all.  Given that the military itself sees no reason for der Sturmtrumper’s petty little nonsense, perhaps this will die a natural and unmourned death.  Not likely, but one can hope.

16. Never one to miss a chance to exploit a tragedy for his own sordid political ambitions, der Sturmtrumper declared that the terrorist who killed 8 people in New York City recently was all Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) fault because he came into this country on the Diversity Visa Lottery Program.  Except that a) that program is part of the Immigration Act of 1990, which was signed by President George Bush Sr., and b) the white terrorist who shot more than 600 people in Las Vegas a few weeks ago traveled there from his native state of Iowa and yet there were no ragetweets from der Sturmtrumper about limiting that kind of movement.  It’s good to be a white male in der Sturmtrumper’s world.

17. To remind us that this administration is composed of Stupid clear down to the bone, Energy Secretary Rick “Secessionist” Perry has publicly stated that fossil fuels can help prevent sexual assault.  “When the lights are on, when you have light that shines the righteousness, if you will, on those type of acts,” he said, “…fossil fuels … play a role in that.  I happen to think it’s going to play a positive role.”  Uh, what exactly is an intelligent person supposed to say to something so utterly devoid of sense and so completely isolated from reality?  Other than, “Hi there, Mr. Secretary,” I suppose.

18. When the painfully noncontroversial Newsweek runs a cover calling der Sturmtrumper’s administration “the most corrupt in U.S. history,” that’s saying something.  There’s an entire Gilded Age that he’s outdone, for one thing.  But the actual article inside (with the headline further noting that this is an administration of “first-class kleptocrats”) specifically addresses the Gilded Age, with presidential historian Robert Dallek pointing out that der Sturmtrumper’s administration has so far been more corrupt than both Ulysses Grant’s (generally seen as the low-point of federal ethics in American history) and Warren G. Harding’s (the only serious rival to Grant’s prior to this bunch of morally-challenged jackals).  “What makes this different is that the president can’t seem to speak the truth about a host of things,” Dallek said.  “The fish rots from the head.”  Or, as Elijah Cummings (D-MD) of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform put it, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”  From billing the taxpayer for luxuries to violating the emolument clause to having bizarrely huge security retinues, this is a group of privileged, overentitled toddlers swilling at the public trough without shame or remorse and the pattern starts at the top.  There is a broad pattern of illegality and criminal activity that is positively Nixonian here, and that didn’t end well the first time.  Of course, that assumes that the rest of the GOP will stop enabling this criminal circus and actually care about laws, morals, or Constitutional values.

19. Der Sturmtrumper’s judicial nominee Leonard Steven Grasz was unanimously rated as Unqualified by the American Bar Association – a rare and exceptional feat – but not surprisingly retains the “full-throated” support of der Sturmtrumper because when would qualifications become an issue for him, really?  The ABA found the former Nebraska chief deputy attorney general to be biased, rude, petty, incompetent, and generally uninformed as to the difference between a judge and a lobbyist.  When White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gridley attempted to blame the ABA for being partisan, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) noted that 40 of der Sturmtrumper’s 42 judicial nominees seem to have had no similar problems from the ABA.  Does this administration even have any idea what ethics are?  We’ve already determined that they don’t have any, but do you think they’re aware of the existence of such things?  The question remains open.

20.  Are you ready to be truly and comprehensively fucked, America?  Because the GOP tax plan is here to do that!  Not only does it destroy whatever fiscal sanity this country had managed to regain under the deficit-reducing policies of Barack Obama (seriously – the man cut the deficit by about 2/3 from the out of control waste of the Bush Jr. years), it also sabotages the housing industry, raises taxes on about 10% of the population, cuts about a trillion and a half dollars from Medicare and Medicaid, proposes eliminating or substantially cutting housing assistance and cancer research, and completes the fifty-year project of the ultra-rich to destroy the middle class and transfer its wealth into their own pockets.  But FREEDOM!  Yeah right.  Given the fact that this will add about $5.6 trillion to the national debt – including about $1.5 trillion in new debt – one may ask why a party that was so, so concerned with deficits and debt when Obama was trying to make sure that Americans didn’t die from untreated diseases is perfectly happy to abandon that concern when they get to loot the economy, and the answer, of course, is political gain.  They think they need a win and they’re willing to burn the country down to get one.  “If we had a whole bunch of wins on major items up to this point, would we perhaps be a little bit more deliberate in our negotiations?  I think the answer is yes,” said Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC), one of the leading Teabaggers in Congress.  “The fact that we need to put up some major legislative victories … certainly factors into how flexible, I think, a number of us are going to be.”  So there you have it – selling out the American people in order to score cheap (or, more accurately, expensive) points with their base. 

21. And if you really want to see that in action, all you need to do is look at how the “plan” very carefully repeals one specific part of the Johnson Amendment.  The Johnson Amendment has been in place since 1954.  It forbids 501c3 nonprofits from endorsing or opposing political candidates and prevents any tax-exempt organization from advocating for or against political candidates.  This is the price you pay for being tax exempt.  The GOP wants to repeal this, but only for churches.  So all those blasphemous Dominionist megachurches will be able to keep their tax-exempt status while acting as tinhorn lobbyists for the far right.  This also makes any donation to those churches for political purposes completely anonymous and fully tax-deductible.  If you want your church corrupt, this is how you do it.  If you want your politics corrupt, this is how you do it.  Hey – two for one.  Wasn’t this sort of worldly corruption of the churches the reason for the Protestant Reformation in the first place?  It is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation after all.

22. Apparently the GOP tax plan will also eliminate the deduction for student loan interest and eliminate Pell Grants, because that’s exactly how you encourage Americans to get their degrees and rise up the economic ladder, isn’t it?  Hello?  Is this thing on?  This is the party of ignorance and servitude imposing their will on the rest of us.  Education just makes the peasants uppity, and we can’t be having that in the New Gilded Age.

23. David Roberts at Vox raises an interesting and rather disturbing point: what if Mueller proves the case and it’s not enough?  What if there is no longer ANY evidentiary standard that could overcome the influence of the right-wing media?  This is not an idle point.  In an age of hyperpartisanship and polarization, more and more Americans are living in a bubble of their own information, and this is especially true for the right wing.  There is no comparison – liberals are far better informed than conservatives based on their media choices, because right-wing media is more hermetically sealed and less reality-driven.  Charlie Sykes, who was a conservative radio host for decades before he dared to criticize der Sturmtrumper and was essentially driven off the air by the backlash from the GOP base, notes that “the conservative media has become a safe space for people who want to be told that they don’t have to believe anything that’s uncomfortable or negative.”  Sykes went on to say, “the conservative media has done a really great job of convincing conservatives that they’re under siege, and that they’re victims and that there’s this effort to bring down their guy.  So the resistance is so strong to anything that poses a threat.  It’s not just a set of facts.  It’s an emotional reaction to these kinds of stories.  I’m sure you watched the way Monday morning [when Mueller announced his first set of indictments] played out.  How incredibly fast the spin went out that the Manafort indictment was not about Trump, not about the collusion, that it was a complete nothingburger that had nothing to do with Russia whatsoever.  And that lasted for about an hour, maybe an hour and a half, until the next shoe drops.  Then there was the Papadopoulos thing.  But it seemed like there was no period in which they were rocked back on their heels by the fact that we actually have indictments of some major players in Trumpworld.”  And as Roberts points out, the right has built a parallel set of institutions specifically designed not to provide reality-based information but instead to pamper and coddle right-wingers inside their bubbles (remember “Conservapedia,” anyone?  The right-wing answer to Wikipedia, because reality was just too liberal for them?).  “The right did not want better neutral arbiters,” Roberts points out.  “The institutions it built scarcely made any pretense of transcending faction; they are of and for the right. … Indeed, the far right rejects the very idea of neutral, binding arbiters; there is only Us and Them, only a zero-sum contest for resources.”  In sum, Roberts observes, “conservative media is more partisan and more insular than the left.”  And when you add all that up, what you are left with is this: even if Mueller has video evidence of explicit conclusion and a signed, dated confession from everyone in the room including der Sturmtrumper himself, the GOP base will not believe it and will punish any responsible conservative who acts to protect the American republic from this corruption.  And what then?

24. Is anyone else vaguely amused by the fact that a Twitter employee on his last day at work decided to go out with a bang and delete der Sturmtrumper’s account?  For 11 blessed minutes, the world was spared the latest spittle-flecked lies from the White House shitter, until someone noticed the imminent arrival of world peace and responsible government and reinstated the account, bringing us back to the status quo ante.  I guess that’s what you get when you conduct so much official government business on an unsecure public forum, but so it goes.

25. You do realize that anybody with a seventh-grade set of hacker skills could take control of der Sturmtrumper’s Twitter feed and start runs on the stock market, financial panics, or possibly WWIII, right?  This is why you’re not supposed to have unsecured social media accounts when you have jobs like that, or if you do you’re supposed to use them for incredibly boring things like announcing holidays and thanking visiting dignitaries for their time.

26. I live in a country where a fictional president is held to a higher standard of ethics than the real one. 

27. Representative and right-wing extremist Steve King (R-IA) recently tweeted out how much he and Donald “Fredo” Trump Jr. were enjoying their “peasant hunt.”  I suppose that’s technically a typo, but it is perhaps more honest than the real thing.

28. As more and more details of the GOP tax plan leak out (and why, for fuck sake, does a bill that will constitute a major overhaul of the federal tax system, to be voted on by the representatives in Congress assembled, have to “leak out”?  Shouldn’t this thing be public anyway?), it becomes clearer and clearer that the GOP wars on education are in full swing.  Some of the more interesting provisions would strip out those part of the tax code that allows universities to waive tuition for graduate students, repeal the Lifetime Learning Credit (used by graduate students, retraining workers, and part-time or nontraditional undergrads who take more than four years to graduate, which is extremely common for people who have to work while in school [i.e. most students these days]), tax university endowments, reduce the incentive to donate to universities, destroy the deduction for student loan interest, end tax breaks for employers who cover educational costs for their employees, and eliminate the ability of college employees to exclude from taxable income qualified undergraduate tuition reductions that they receive from their employer.  In short, this will make higher education prohibitively expensive for all but the wealthy and help bring to a halt the kind of social mobility that education can bring.  It’s of a piece with the “nobles and peasants” philosophy of governing that the GOP has adopted in the last decade or two, where those at the top increasingly gather all of the wealth and opportunities while those below exist only as beasts of burden.

29. Apparently Wilbur Ross, der Sturmtrumper’s Commerce Secretary, shares business interests with Vladimir Putin’s immediately family and hid that from Congress when he was being confirmed.  Congratulations, Republicans – you’re the party of Klaus Fuchs and the Rosenbergs, and if you had any clue at all what happened to those folks you would be afraid.  As it is I doubt many of you are even ashamed.

30. Lawrence Summers, the former US Secretary of the Treasury, has examined what detail there is in the GOP tax plan and has, not surprisingly, determined that it is little more than a gift to the wealthy financed on the backs of the middle class and the poor.  It will “retard growth, reward the wealthy, add complexity the tax code and cheat the future even as it raises burdens on the middle class and poor.”  The tax cuts will explode the deficit and defer any serious attention to the issues of infrastructure, security, and trade deficits.  The corporate tax cut will serve “only to reward monopoly profits.”  This is a clear sign that unless you have a net worth measured in millions the GOP cares nothing for you.  Why anyone not a millionaire votes Republican is an interesting question in political suicide.

31.  Actually the long-term pattern of GOP tax policy is fairly clear to anyone who looks.  1) Cut taxes on the wealthy, destroy the fiscal sanity of the country, increase the national debt and explode the deficit but continue shouting about how evil taxation is and how this will magically cause prosperity despite all evidence to the contrary until opposing voices are drowned out, 2) Get voted out of office eventually, 3) Watch the grown-ups come back into power and do the necessary things to restore solvency and stability to the country and get the middle class back on track, such as re-impose the taxes that the GOP got rid of, 4) Complain that the left is RAISING TAXES OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!!!!!!  5) Claim the economic recovery caused by abandoning GOP policies for their own, 6) Get voted back into power because Americans have the attention span of a hypoglycemic gnat, 7) Profit, 8) Repeat.  It’s sad, but inevitable.

32. Another day, another massacre here in the US.  Another coward with a gun, because what else do cowards have but firearms?  You know it was a white man pulling the trigger because nobody officially calls it terrorism and the right wing is falling over itself to say the shooter wasn’t representative of his demographic subtype – which is emphatically not the case for any nonwhite.  Look, I get it – the fight for gun control is over in this country.  It ended when a white male walked into a grade school and slaughtered a bunch of six-year-olds and the sum total of the American reaction was buying more guns, because hey, we can always make more kids.  Face it, Americans like killing people and we like it when people are killed.  And the cowards are in charge.  More firearms, anyone?

33. Yeah, this pretty much sums it up.

34. Although the next time I hear some uninformed goober trying to tell me that Hitler was a Socialist I swear I will go spare.  Seriously – Fascism is the totalitarianism of the right; Soviet-style Communism is the totalitarianism of the left; neither of them are Socialism (though Soviet Communism has some of its roots there); both hated each other.  It’s not that hard.

35. You know, if the GOP really believed that the mass slaughter of American citizens from freely available weapons of war was a mental health problem and not a gun problem, you’d think they would not have made it easier for people with mental health problems to buy weapons of war earlier this year.  It’s almost like they don’t actually believe in anything at all.

36. Keep an eye on the Paradise Papers – a treasury of documents leaked from an offshore financial firm describing the corrupt and devious ways that the rich and powerful escape regulation and taxation.  There’s a reason why der Sturmtrumper never released his tax returns, after all.

37. So where were you on the Great Uprising of November 4?  I spent it helping out at a science fair, so you can understand why I might have missed all the hubbub.  But what was your excuse?  Surely there were Great Events, surely there was Violence In The Streets, Bloodshed And Carnage On A Grand Scale, and all that?  Isn’t that what the right-wing extremists were predicting?  Isn’t that what they were fretting about?  Or was that just more baseless paranoia from an unhinged and mentally limited group of people with too much free time on their hands and not enough responsibilities to keep them productively occupied elsewhere?  Hard to tell these days.

38. Just to keep all this in perspective, der Sturmtrumper’s wildly flailing chaos machine has existed in a remarkably privileged bubble during its ten months of incompetence and ignorance.  Other than a couple of hurricanes (internal difficulties, and so far abandoning millions of American citizens to their fate seems to have had no effect on his supporters so look for him to spread that into the economic realm soon and include white people this time) and a fair amount of self-inflicted corruption and criminal wounds (hello, Robert Mueller!  What can we do for you today?), this has been a calm in larger affairs.  Now, if der Sturmtrumper and his Circus of Incompetence can create this much Failure during peacetime, imagine what will happen if an actual crisis occurs.  We’re working toward one, after all.  We’re due.  Der Sturmtrumper has systematically attacked the pillars of post-WWII American security and power during his time in office, we’ve already lost a war against Russia that we didn’t even know we were fighting, the Chinese are actively using their economic wealth to move into American-dominated foreign markets and move forward with new energy sources while the US withdraws into a 1930s-style America First hole and discourages anything but outdated fossil fuels, and the political polarization and economic inequalities that der Sturmtrumper is openly encouraging do not bode well for our ability to respond to any major crisis.  The Germans, for example, are actively planning for a post-American world and Britain is starting to do so as well, and one by one all of our allies are going to have to face the fact that for the duration of der Sturmtrumper’s regime (and quite possibly beyond, depending on how much damage he does to this country) the US is not going to be a reliable ally or even a stable democracy.  What happens when the next real crisis hits?  Think about that, if you don’t mind not sleeping tonight.

39. EPA chief Scott “Who needs all those trees, anyway?” Pruitt seems to have caught the “I’m a Republican, laws don’t apply to me” bug recently with his lobbying video for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a video that explicitly tells NCBA members to lobby Congress regarding a proposal to revise the Clean Water Rule.  The EPA and anyone associated with it is prohibited by law from using its resources to lobby Congress on ongoing legislative matters or to fund propaganda.  Pruitt is now just another criminal in der Sturmtrumper’s ongoing racket and would be removed from office and prosecuted if the GOP actually cared about the law.  And if you’re waiting for that to happen, perhaps you should be looking into purchasing a bridge while you bide your time.

40. And now the US is the only nation on earth that rejects the Paris Climate Agreement, since Nicaragua has said it would settle for it despite thinking it should be stronger and Syria (which is barely a nation at all these days) says it will join soon.  You know, you’d think the American right-wing would take the hint, but apparently they’re more concerned with denying reality and making themselves feel all butch and manly rollin' coal than they are with having a viable place to live for their children. 

41. “Modern air is a little too clean for optimum health.”  This observation brought to you by Robert Phalen, one of der Sturmtrumper's science advisors.  Seriously.  I know.  How exactly is a sentient human being supposed to respond to that level of nuclear grade stupidity?

42. A nonpartisan analysis directed by Kent Smetters (former economic advisor to George W. Bush) shows that the current GOP budget proposal would reduce federal tax revenue by $1.7 trillion over the next ten years.  Why does that precise figure matter?  Because under Senate rules, that exceeds the limit permitted to move legislation forward under “reconciliation” rules that allow the GOP to avoid Democratic filibusters.  Furthermore, that same analysis shows that the GOP budget would reduce tax revenue another $2.6 trillion in the dozen years after the first decade, and reconciliation rules don’t allow any bill to increase the deficit at all after the first decade.  So this bill is doubly banned from being passed under the no-filibuster reconciliation process.  Of course, the natural response of the GOP to this will be to change the rules, because that’s been precedent, but at least there will be that speed bump.

43. Oh, good lord – someone let der Sturmtrumper loose in Asia and he insists on talking when he’s there.  He doesn’t understand why Japan – “a county of samurai warriors” – can’t just shoot down North Korean missiles and he’s begging them to build their cars here, which they already do.  Shake my damn head.


LucyInDisguise said...

2. The numbers are starting to blur.

5. Damn. I had Donald Junior.

9. I’m not at all sure that this “can be safely dismissed out of hand.” It is an actual “thing” drawing news coverage, commentary, and most depressingly, listeners. Made the mistake of dismissing the obvious during the general election - look what that got us.

17. I think Ralph just got a new name: “Perry”. On review, Ralph is more intelligent than that. He knows that Buddy Holly glasses don’t make you smart.

19. Clue: That should be “Deep-throated” support.

20. “fucked” = good. “Gang-raped” = more accurate. Otherwise, point.

21. They need a backup plan in case Citizens United goes South.

23. Okay, time for a little constructive criticism: [snarky editor mode] Dude! Paragraphs! Give your readers a chance to come up for air. These numbered lists are the only time you ever do the whole ‘wall of text’ thing. It took me longer to wade through this one point than the whole rest of the post. It is permissible to break these up into paragraphs without losing the effect. [/snarky editor mode]

You’re a much better writer than this.

25. [Shudders at the thought]

31. I’m not entirely certain just how long the “attention span of a hypoglycemic gnat” is, but I think you are giving more credit than is actually due the American voter.

32 thru 35. See, it’s okay. The GOP sent they’re thoughts and prayers, and are currently depositing the next set of checks from the IRA. Uhh, sorry, make that NRA, didn’t intend to insult those more rational folk in Ireland.

37. There was an uprising? What, high tide came in?

38. You’re not helping my insomnia. You know that, right?

40. There is an old joke: Two guys in an elevator - one of them farts - everybody knows who did it. Would that be an applicable analogy here? (Note, it would have to be two guys. No woman i’ve ever met would do that - they’re all intelligent (or cagey) enough to wait till someone else gets on …)

41. See 40 above.

43. Currently installing 1950s era bomb shelter in the north 40 - hope to have it functional by Sunday. No, there is not room for you, get your own.

David said...

2. The numbers always start to blur. That's what those bastards are counting on. I revel in my specificity and wield it as a shield.

5. I had Manafort, though Gates and Papadopoulos came as a surprise to me. I didn't think Mueller would go after blood until he'd worked his way up a bit. I was hoping for Flynn, but perhaps sooon.

17. Ralph would probably do a better job, too.

19. HAH!

20. Oh, that metaphor can be extended in all kinds of uncomfortable ways...

23. Yeah, probably right. I hate dividing up points in these numbered lists, but sometimes they do go on long. On the plus side, it does force people to concentrate, and that has to count for something!

32-35. At least the IRA had a cause for which they engaged in barbaric random violence against the innocent. In this country we just do it for kicks.

37. I know! I saw those fevered posts by right-wing nutjobs about how all the Big Bad Liberals were going to go house to house killing white people (wait a minute, I'm a white guy and I'm liberal by 2017 standards ... how's that going to work?) and yet on the day nothing much happened. I'm sure they'll sit back and brag about how it was only their frantic paranoia that averted this bloodshed and no amount of reality will shake them from it.

38. Why should I be the only one up late at night thinking about these things? Come by for some company sometime. :)

40/41. A friend of mine had as his senior yearbook quote, "In a crowded elevator, everything smells different to a midget." Wisdom?

43. You know, as someone who teaches an entire course on the atomic bomb, I'm not sure I'd want to survive anyway.

LucyInDisguise said...


17. No doubt. But I don’t think he wants the job. Hasn’t shown much initiative recently. For that matter, I’m pretty certain he hasn’t moved in the last couple of years. Pretty certain …

19. I’ll see your “HAH!” and raise you two guffaws and snicker.

23. Sweet dancing Thor on a Thimble! I read this for entertainment - what in Odin’s name makes you think I want to concentrate on this shit? [See first response to #38 above.]

32 - 35. Silly wabbit! Trix are for kids! Oh, wait … kicks are for … never mind.

38. While I’m certain that that old saying “Misery Loves Company” is founded in both fact & experience, I think both our wives may have a problem with that … two guys up drinkin’ tea an’ giggling all night? Besides, I think people would talk. Not that they’re not already talking.

40/41. Experience.

43. How else are we going to debunk all those post-apocalyptic movies?

And you’ve got to be there, ‘cause someone needs to write it all down for the alien archeologists to analyze the history of how a guy named Lucy came to rule the world just before everyone died horrible, agonizing deaths from radiation.*

They need to have a clear, unambiguous record of the fact that it wasn’t my fault - I just inherited the mess from Orange Julius. So get yur damn shelter ready already! **

Future World Leader

*Hey, don’t laugh so hard! I could do better than the Marmalade Wonder just by showing up and not doing anything evil. Of course, so could you. Or, for that matter, my 5 year old Great-granddaughter; so there is that…

**See? Paragraphs…! ;) Okay, I’ll stop now.

David said...

17. I’ll still take the rock. At least Ralph upholds the Hippocratic Oath (“first, do no harm”) in a way that der Sturmtrumper and his minions refuse to.

23. Well, making people concentrate is entertainment for ME. Isn’t that what matters?

38. Let ‘em talk. I’m guessing my wife would be amused enough to forgive me. And quite possibly intrigued enough to join in. We could make it a party. If your wife has a good sense of humor she's welcome too.

43. Paragraphs! When you are the World Leader, you can make them mandatory. As someone who grades student essays, I’ll gladly support you in this.

And I’ll try to make more of them here.


LucyInDisguise said...

23. Literally, I think making people concentrate is your actual job; it is of course wonderful that you can derive entertainment from that as well. At least as long as no physical torture is involved.

38. My wife certainly has a sense of humor - however strange it maybe. She doesn’t understand or appreciate British humor (which I love), and thinks all the paranormal shows on the Discovery channel are sitcoms (which I think is just flat out weird). Logistically, stopping by before the bombs start falling my be a bit of an issue, but otherwise, you’re on.

Any one who is capable of reading, comprehending & grading essays written by anyone (let alone students!) has my profound sympathy. I mean, admiration.

Therefore - Let All Men (and women, boys & girls) Know by These Here Present:
As your Future Sovereign I herewith grant you the power forever-here-after to make up and codify any such rules as may please you regarding paragraph placement or design.

So let it be written …

So let it be done.


(Okay, is this at all starting to get just a little bit freaky?)

David said...

I shall endeavor to use my new powers for the good.

What's wrong with freaky, anyway? :)