Thursday, November 16, 2017

Continued Stray Thoughts on the Current Political Climate

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.  Election night was perhaps the first real sign that der Sturmtrumper’s toxic regression of American politics might be turned around by patriotic Americans concerned about the depths of depravity to which this country has fallen in the last twelve months.  His favorite candidates were rejected across the board.  The shockingly gerrymandered assembly in Virginia came very close to losing its GOP majority, something nobody ever thought possible.  It was a sweep.  But this can only be a beginning.  The GOP is nothing if not adept at clinging to illegitimate power and will likely pull out all of its tricks – voter suppression, scare tactics, further gerrymandering, misinformation and outright fabrication, and so on – to keep its hold on government, and there can be no letting up.  But for one night, it is right to celebrate the victory.

2. In other election news, Maine residents voted 59% to 41% to approve expanding their Medicaid program under the ACA, a clear rebuke to their Teabagger dictator of a governor who – among other things – has refused to expand the program.  But do you think the GOP governor cares about democracy or about what the American citizens he works for actually want?  If you do, you haven’t been paying attention.  No, Gov. LePage – who has vetoed five separate bills by the Maine legislature to expand Medicaid – absolutely refuses to implement the legally binding results of that referendum.  Because what business is it of yours, citizen, to have any say in your own government?  That’s what your GOP rulers are for.

3. One of the most satisfying victories in the recent election night was the election of Virginia state delegate Danica Roem, an openly transgender woman who defeated the self-described “chief homophobe” of the Virginia Commonwealth, Bob Marshall.  Marshall was the bigot behind Virginia’s bathroom bill, a copy of the one that disgraced North Carolina not so long ago, and he kept up a constant stream of slander and abuse aimed at Roem for the entire election.  And how did Roem respond?  When asked her opinion of Marshall after her victory, she answered, “I don’t attack my constituents.  Bob is my constituent now.”  That, folks, is class. 

4. Speaking of elections, Pennsylvania election officials finally wrapped up their probe into all that illegal voting that the GOP alleges is so significant in our politics these days.  Remember when der Sturmtrumper claimed that the fact he lost the popular vote by nearly 3,000,000 votes last year was due to all those illegal aliens casting ballots?  Of course you do!  He says that pretty much every hour on the hour.  It turns out this is not true.  Who knew!  Besides anyone with any contact with reality in all its technicolor glory, I mean.  Pennsylvania simply confirmed that.  After examining over 93,000,000 votes between 2000 and 2017 they found a grand total of 544 ballots cast by noncitizen immigrants, most of whom were simply mistaken about whether they could vote and who were otherwise properly registered with state authorities.  For those who can’t do math and wish to call honest mistakes “fraud,” that’s a fraud rate of 0.0006%.  That’s fewer than the people who just turn in blank ballots.  And yet Kris Kobach has a job.  MURCA!

5. Der Sturmtrumper’s “election integrity” commission – the voter suppression committee led by right-wing extremist Kris Kobach, mentioned above – has already been sued fifteen times for violating pretty much every government transparency and privacy protection law on the books (translation: for acting like the unelected dictatorship that they were appointed to be).  And now the committee is being sued by one of its own members.  Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, a Democrat appointed to the commission by der Sturmtrumper in May, has filed suit in federal court for the committee’s violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972, a law that requires presidential advisory committees to operate in a transparent and bipartisan manner.  Apparently refusing to give documents to Democrats on the committee, obstructing their participation, withholding agendas and results from them, declaring that the committee is “on hold” but holding meetings in secret anyway, and generally working to shut out anyone not likely to rubber-stamp Kobach’s radical anti-democracy views is a violation of federal law.  Who knew?  Meanwhile, one of the other members of Kobach’s hit squad on voting, Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation, has publicly called on der Sturmtrumper to exclude both Democrats and “mainstream Republican officials and/or academics” from having any say in the commission’s work because what if they bring actual facts or reality into the discussion and disrupt the voter suppression that is the commission’s designed purpose?

6. So it turns out ol’ Roy Moore – the Dominionist theocrat twice thrown off the Alabama Supreme Court for willfully violating federal law, and now the GOP candidate for Senator from that misbegotten state – stands accused by several women of sexually molesting them, one when she was as young as 14.  This, of course, puts him squarely in the mainstream of the Party of President Pussy Grabber, and it is grimly amusing to watch the GOP reaction to the revelation that their star boy is a pedophile and a predator, too many of whom are standing by their pervert for now and even publicly justifying his conduct.  And his base of supporters seems to think the accusations are some kind of endorsement, which in the modern GOP perhaps they are.

7. Just in case you think I’m exaggerating that last point, I offer you Alabama State Auditor Jim Ziegler, whose defense of Moore essentially amounts to “It’s okay – it’s in the Bible.”  Or, in his own words, “Take Joseph and Mary.  Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter.  They became parents of Jesus.  There’s nothing immoral or illegal here.  Maybe just a little bit unusual.”  Uh, first of all sexually assaulting a 14-year-old is ALL SORTS OF ILLEGAL AND IMMORAL, THANK YOU VERY FUCKING MUCH, and it was illegal, immoral, and punishable by the courts even in Alabama at that time.  Second, perhaps this idiot should read the Bible more closely, particularly the part about “virgin birth,” and see how that compares.  And third, you know what else in in the Bible?  Slavery.  Rape.  Murder.  Any number of things that really should not be taken as a model of civilized behavior but which are apparently okay in the Alabama GOP, and apparently the larger GOP as well.

8. A few other quotes of relevance here from the Party of Perverts and Predators:

“It was 40 years ago.  I really don’t see the relevance of it.  He was 32.  She was supposedly 14.  She’s not saying that anything happened other than they kissed.”  (Alabama Marion County GOP Chair David Hall, who apparently did not read what Moore actually did to that child)

“The other women that they’re using to corroborate: number one, one was 19, one was 17, one was 16.  There’s nothing wrong with a 30-year-old single male asking a 19-year-old, a 17-year-old, or a 16-year-old out on a date.”  (also David Hall, who doesn’t seem to understand the difference between asking someone out and sexually assaulting a child)

“I would vote for Judge Moore because I wouldn’t want to vote for Doug [Jones, the Democratic candidate].”  (Alabama Bibb County Republican Chair Jerry Pow, explaining that he’d vote for Moore even if Moore did sexually assault a child)

“Yeah!” (Alabama Covington County Republican Chair William Blocker, on whether he’d vote for Moore even if there were hard proof of sexual assault by Moore on a 14-year-old girl)

“Other than being with an underage person – he really didn’t force himself.”  (Alabama Geneva County Republican Chairman Riley Seibenhener – or, in other words, “Yes, but aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”)

As Daniel Dale, the correspondent for the Toronto Star who interviewed all these Shining Exemplars of Morality, put it, “Journalism In The Trump Era: begin the day quoting guys about tariffs, end the day quoting guys who prefer child molesters to Democrats.”  And make no mistake – they do.  The modern GOP would vote for Satan himself balls deep in a kindergartner before doing anything that might jeopardize their shriveled grip on power, and they’d slander anyone who criticized them for doing so.  They’re already doing so. 

9. Not universally, it has to be pointed out.  There are indeed GOP officials and elected politicians who have not failed the “child molester” test (why this needs to be specified is a damning indictment in itself, but let’s take our victories where we find them) and who have been clear that Moore’s actions cannot stand.  Larry Hogan, the Republican governor of Maryland, said, “Roy Moore’s defenders should ask themselves if they would be so quick to excuse him if the victim was their daughter or if the offender was a Democrat.  He is unfit for office and should step aside.  Americans are better than this.”  Retiring Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) simply said, “This cannot be who we are,” and Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) suggested that the Senate could simply expel Moore if he actually does win despite being a child molester.  Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) withdrew his endorsement, and even Mitch McConnell – the least honorable man in Washington DC – said that Moore should step aside, though he, like many Republicans, couched it in rather evasive “if this is true” sort of language.  To his credit also, McConnell has not ruled out simply not seating Moore if he should win, which the Senate does have the power to do, or seating him and then immediately expelling him (which would not be the first time a Senator has been brought forward for expulsion on charges similar – though less serious – than this).  Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), however, refused to be evasive and clearly demanded that Moore drop out – “This man is despicable and should step down” – and Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) has said Moore should “step aside.”  One national GOP strategist simply noted that he was “worried, but this is an opportunity to show a majority of Americans that the Republican Party does not stand for pedophilia and all these bigoted comments that he stands for.”  As for that opportunity, well, the jury is still out on that one, isn’t it?

10. As Jen Psaki, former White House Communications Director under Obama, said, “Moore is a test for the moral compass of the Republican Party.  Is it going to push him out of the race and applaud the bravery of four women in Alabama, following the lead of Mitt Romney and John McCain, or is it going to hide behind carefully worded statements out of fear of Steve Bannon and the Trump movement?”  I can tell you which one my money is on, but sure, let’s give it a chance to play out.  Who knows, perhaps I’ll be surprised.  I would be very, very glad to be wrong on this one.

9. Even beyond the whole pedophilia and sexual assault aspect of his character, Moore is just the gift that keeps on giving for those who wish to prove that the GOP is the party of bigots, fools, and people who have never bothered to read the Constitution or the law, or spell anything more complicated than “KKK.”  “The transgenders don’t have rights,” he said in a press conference on November 8.  “They’ve never been denominated as having rights by the US Supreme Court.”  He’s not just a pervert and a pedophile, folks!  He’s so much more!  You can’t make this stuff up, folks.  This ought to be proof positive of dementia and in any civilized country Moore would have spent the night in a padded room being fed soft foods.  Instead he remains the nominee of the once-proud Republican Party for an actual seat in the US Senate.  Hold onto your hats, boys and girls – the Fuckwit is strong with this one.

10. Dean Winslow, one of der Sturmtrumper’s nominees for a high Pentagon position, may well have talked himself out of a job by pointing out the obvious in the wake of the Texas Church Massacre.  When asked by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) whether the criminal behind that massacre should have received a dishonorable discharge from the Air Force for assaulting his wife and child, which might have kept him from legally purchasing the assault rifle he used to gun those church members down, Winslow noted that “I’d also like to, and I may get in trouble with other members of this committee, just say how insane it is that in the United States of America a civilian can go out and buy a semiautomatic assault rifle like an AR-15.”  Given that der Sturmtrumper and the rest of the GOP see no reason why anyone in the US can’t have any gun they want at any time they want it, it’s kind of refreshing to hear someone in Winslow’s position making that case.

11. The American Foreign Service Association – the professional organization for America’s diplomatic corps – just published some bizarre and frightening statistics.  After a year of der Sturmtrumper’s willful demolition of American diplomatic power and prestige, the number of career ministers (the equivalent of 3-star generals in the diplomatic service) is down 42% and the number of career ambassadors (4-star generals) is down by 60%.  And the number of entry-level hires who might one day work their way up to those levels is down from 366 in 2016 to 100 in 2017 thanks to a hiring freeze imposed by Exxon’s Own Secretary of State after he was confirmed.  The number of people who took the Foreign Service Exam, which you need to pass to become a foreign service officer, declined by more than half in that time as well.  The few people left are demoralized and looking for ways out before the whole thing comes crashing down, and both Republican and Democratic veterans of the State Department agree that Rex Tillerson will be remembered as “one of the worst secretaries of State we’ve ever had” (Eliot Cohen, who worked under George W. Bush) or possibly “the worst secretary of state in history” (Ilan Goldenberg, who worked under Barack Obama).  This is of a piece with the general New Gilded Age thinking of the modern GOP, but still – you’d think they’d at least be careful to preserve American power and prestige.  You’d be wrong, but you might still think that.

12. The Russian noose gets tighter and tighter and yet, at the same time, keeps expanding to include more and more of der Sturmtrumper’s close associates, minions, and flunkies.  This is a fascinating quality and one that should be studied.  Surely it has broader applicability in industry.  For politics, though, it means at this point that even more of his aides are getting sucked into the corruption vortex, the latest being Stephen Miller, the guy who was perhaps most instrumental in getting der Sturmtrumper to fire James Comey in order to try to hide all this collusion with an enemy power.  Miller is an “innermost circle” kind of guy, and if he’s involved directly you know that der Sturmtrumper was involved directly.  He’s also Our Confederate Attorney General’s boy, which just expands the noose that much further.  Eventually there will be nobody left in the White House who hasn't demonstrably sold out to the Russians.

13. The basic problem with the GOP tax plan is that it is a frontal assault on American citizens in the name of corporate wealth.  As John Cassidy put it in the New Yorker, there are two principles that they claim to find indispensable in guiding this bill – middle-class tax cuts and corporate tax cuts – but “these principles have run into the laws of arithmetic, and the fact that there isn’t enough money in the Republicans’ own budget, even using the fuzzy fiscal math the Party favors, to provide big giveaways for all businesses and all households.  Something had to give, and between businesses and households, House Republicans went with the businesses.  From what we’ve seen of the Senate bill, so far, it does the same.”  The wealthy 1% – who already control nearly a quarter of all the wealth in this country, while the bottom 90% share a slice of the pie about the same size as the 1% have – and big corporations will get a windfall while everyone else gets comprehensively fucked.  Families with children and incomes between $40k and $75k – the middle class, in other words – will see their taxes go up to pay for this.  It’s just math, people.  It’s not complicated.  I know the GOP doesn’t believe in science or observable reality, but come on – numbers too?

14.  In case you’re wondering whether the Republican War on Women ever went away, there is always State Representative Scott Allen of Wisconsin to remind you that Republicans consider women to be nothing more than incubators and livestock.  The Wisconsin State Assembly – a body so horrifically gerrymandered that the US Supreme Court is actively looking into it, and so corrupt that their response to photographs of them engaging in illegal activity was to put paper up on the windows so they couldn’t be photographed again – recently shoved through a bill restricting abortion coverage for state employees because of course they would.  Abortion (which, I remind you, is legal under federal law, state law, and the US Constitution, and supported by large majorities of the American population) would not be covered by state employee health plans except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the mother’s life.  And Representative Allen thought that was far too permissive.  “Labor force shortages are tied to population declines,” said this latter-day Solon who has apparently never heard of the free market, educational opportunities to train workers, or the idea of increasing wages to attract talent, and to whom the experience of countries like Bangladesh where dense populations of prospective laborers continue to live in poverty and economic stagnation.  “Labor force shortages are a limiting factor in economic growth. And limited economic growth poses a problem when government tries to pay for public services and infrastructure.  In spite of this, Mr. Speaker, ironically, the Democrats continue their effort to support the abortion industry.”  So, in sum, women should be forced to have children for the labor market, apparently.  Breed, you damned livestock, breed!

15. Der Sturmtrumper’s Asian tour is going about as well as you’d think it would.  Kim Jong-un, the psychopath running North Korea, called him an old lunatic, and der Sturmtrumper’s response was to ask, “Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat’?”  Did I miss the part where der Sturmtrumper denied being a lunatic, or was that simply conceded?  And seriously?  Third graders think that exchange was childish.

16. Other highlights from der Sturmtrumper’s tour: he believes he’s significantly improved relations between Japan and South Korea in the 60 hours he spent combined in those two countries; he trusts Vladimir Putin more than he trusts the US intelligence agencies working to defend this country against foreign threats such as, oh, Vladimir Putin; he thinks the main reason we have bad relations with Russia is the investigation into his collusion with them (as opposed to, say, the Crimean invasion, their appalling record on human rights, and the entire Cold War); he’s still fighting the 2016 election a year after it ended; he thinks nobody else in history has ever gone on a 12-day foreign trip; and so on.  Seriously – someone needs to give this guy a placebo Twitter account and adjust his meds until reality can break through his bubble.

17. It didn’t take long for two former high-ranking officials from the American intelligence community to respond to der Sturmtrumper’s preference for the reassurances of an enemy power over the assessment of our own intelligence services.  Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan flatly accused der Sturmtrumper of toadying to Vladimir Putin and constituting a threat to American security.  “I think it demonstrates to Mr. Putin that Donald Trump can be played by foreign leaders who are going to appeal to his ego and try to play upon his insecurities, which is very, very worrisome from a national security standpoint,” said Brennan.  Clapper added, “Yes, I do think that both the Chinese and the Russians can play him.”  Guess what, you Trump voters – you put a patsy in the White House and the rest of us get to watch American power and influence dribble away with each passing rageTweet session. 

18. Good question. 

Granted, not all of the GOP is fine with it (as noted above and below - I will give credit where due, thank you).  But a curiously broad overlap with the benighted faction of that party that pushed the disgraceful bathroom bills is fine with it, nonetheless.  Maybe they were afraid that others would treat young girls as they treated young girls and didn’t want the competition?  Or, maybe it was just the standard bigotry and nonsensical fear-mongering.  You make the call.

19. The whole idea of adult men – often in their 40s or even older – sexually pursuing teenaged or even pre-teen girls is common in the evangelical right wing circles where Roy Moore is popular.  As Kathryn Brightbill puts it, “We need to talk about the segment of American culture that probably doesn’t think the allegations against Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore are particularly damning, the segment that will blanch at only two accusations in the Washington Post expose: He pursued a 14-year-old girl without first getting her parents’ permission, and he initiated sexual contact outside of marriage.  That segment is evangelicalism.  In that world, which Moore travels in and I grew up in, 14-year-old girls courting adult men isn’t uncommon.”  Evangelicals frame it that way, too – girls courting men.  Imagine!  These men groom underage girls for sexual relations – the word you’re looking for here is “predator” – and see nothing wrong with it.  And then they have the absolute gall to lecture the rest of us for our sins!  To which we reply that the said predators and the horses they rode in on are cordially invited to find some other way to entertain themselves.  Child molesters are the lowest of the low and deserve every malediction and punishment a people can pour out.

20. “The allegations against Roy Moore are merely a symptom of a larger problem,” Brightbill continues.  “It’s not a Southern problem or an Alabama problem.  It’s a Christian fundamentalist problem.  Billy Graham’s grandson, Boz Tchividjian, who leads the organization GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in a Christian Environment) believes that the sexual abuse problem in Protestant communities is on par with that in the Catholic Church.  The evangelical world is overdue for a reckoning.  Women raised in evangelicalism and fundamentalism have for years discussed the normalization of child sexual abuse.  We’ve told our stories on social media and on our blogs and various online platforms, but until the Roy Moore story broke, mainstream American society barely paid attention.  Everyone assumed this was an isolated, fringe issue.  It isn’t.”

21. Yet if you had money to bet, you’d still put it on the good people of Alabama voting for a child molester to represent them.  And you know?  Maybe he does.

22. Scratch that.  Definitely he does.  A new poll says that 37% of evangelicals in Alabama say that they are now more likely to vote for Roy Moore now that he has been outed as a child molester than they were before.  That’s higher than the number of evangelicals who said it would make no difference to them if their elected representative was a child molester (34%) and the number of evangelicals who found child molesters less to their taste than non-child-molesters (29%).  Isn’t that just so, so very Christian of them?  Overall, nearly three in ten Alabama voters (29%, including both evangelicals and non-evangelicals) said they were more likely to vote for the child molester now that they knew he was a child molester.  This isn’t a man who should be in Congress.  This is a man who should be rotting in jail.

23. Roy Moore has now threatened to sue the Washington Post and, presumably, half the news media outlets in the country, for reporting that he is a pedophile and a predator.  No, no he won’t, and if you think otherwise you’re not paying attention.  This is pure theater for his supporters.  He has no case, first of all.  The depth of the news reports – multiple sources, cross-referenced, etc. – and the consistency of the stories are damning, and even the moral lepers rushing to Moore’s defense are mostly arguing that child molesting is somehow okay rather than arguing that he didn’t do it.  Second, even if does have a case – even if every single one of the accusers is complicit in some bizarre conspiracy to say untrue things about him – the newspapers reporting this are still not going to lose a lawsuit because they’ve done their homework and Moore won’t be able to show any actual malice or disregard for the truth.  Third, Moore is a candidate for public office and his actions and past are therefore legitimate subjects of inquiry, so there is no expectation of privacy here.  And fourth – and this cannot be stressed enough – he has no case at all.  There’s no upside to making those accusations, as those women are discovering now.  They won’t be rich or comfortable.  They’re already being persecuted, in fact.  They are being hounded, bullied, and threatened with incarceration (seriously – some numbnut Alabama GOP official wants to bring them up on charges for not accusing Moore sooner, as if his own vindictive malice wasn’t a clear sign of why they hadn’t).  When people go out of their way to make their lives miserable in order to get a story out, that’s usually a good sign that they’re telling the truth.  So Moore can make his grandstanding announcements for the benefit of the ignorant and willfully uninformed voters that are his base, but no lawsuit will ever appear. 

24. Now that Mitch McConnell has publicly and flatly declared “I believe the women” (and again, credit to him for doing so), the barriers for Republicans climbing on the anti-Roy-Moore bandwagon are falling.  Senator Todd Young (R-IN) said “Roy Moore should immediately drop out of the race.  The appearance of grossly reprehensible behavior disqualifies him from service in the United States Senate.  If he does not step aside, we need to act to protect the integrity of the Senate.”  Young further said that the accusations against Moore are “far more persuasive” than Moore’s denials.  Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) added, “The allegations leveled at Roy Moore are disturbing.  I have serious concerns about his prior conduct and fitness for office.  He should immediately withdraw from the race.”  Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) said, “I believe the individuals speaking out against Roy Moore spoke with courage and truth, proving he is unfit to serve in the United States Senate and he should not run for office.  If he refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him, because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements of the United States Senate.”  Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) notes, “In light of the most recent allegations, and the cumulative effect of others, I believe Roy Moore would be doing himself, the state, the GOP, and the country a service by stepping aside.  If he continues this will not end well for Mr. Moore.”  Even with the fact that Graham lists the GOP before the country, it’s a pretty damning statement.  Hell, even Paul Ryan – a man so spineless it’s a wonder he can stand erect – has flatly declared that “He should step aside” because the allegations are “credible.”  Will wonders never cease.

25.  You know, if this sort of reaction catches on with the wider GOP and becomes permanent and, dare I say, leads to a rather less brutal attitude toward women in general, I may just have to revise my opinion of them a bit.

26. Of course they said much the same things about der Sturmtrumper too, once upon a time.  They do seem to have gotten over it, however.  So we’ll see what happens when the time comes, won’t we.

27. The floodgates are opening and more and more women are stepping forward to describe their abuse at the hands of Roy Moore.  We’re up to five now, and I doubt this will be the end of it.  For crying out loud, this guy was apparently banned from a mall in the 1980s for harassing teenaged girls.  How bad do you have to be to get banned from a mall in the 1980s?

28. In other news, the corruption of der Sturmtrumper’s regime just keeps getting deeper and deeper.  Apparently Michael Flynn is being investigated for violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) for his ties to Turkey.  Flynn registered as a foreign agent in March, long after he should have done so, and most times this would be the end of it – the federal government tends to want transparency more than prosecution, so as long as violators come clean and do not file misleading or inaccurate registrations (such as the ones Paul Manafort and Rick Gates filed, which are part of the charges against them), that’s generally where the matter rests.  But another part of FARA makes it a felony to hold any public office while registered as a foreign agent, and Flynn’s position in der Sturmtrumper’s regime would therefore make him a felon.  That carries some serious penalties, and gives Robert Mueller some equally serious leverage over Flynn.  When Flynn cracks, the whole thing may well come tumbling down.  And not a moment too soon.

29.  If you wanted to know just how petty and just how authoritarian der Sturmtrumper can be, you have only to look at his current demands for the AT&T/Time Warner acquisition, most of which involved punitive actions against CNN.  It’s not a coincidence that CNN has been one of the most barbed critics of der Sturmtrumper’s junta.  “There’s no question what is happening here,” said Josh Marshall of TPM.  “It’s the President using his vast powers to try to damage a news organization that won’t come to heel.”  And as an American citizen, that should scare you.

30. Every time I open my web browser I am hit with more evidence of just what a morally bankrupt troll Roy Moore is.  The Guardian is now reporting that Moore has repeatedly argued against the “rape-shield” rule meant to protect the victims of rape, particularly child rape.  In one case where a defendant admitted that he had raped a 12-year-old girl, for example, Moore argued that the defense should nevertheless have been allowed to discuss the girl’s sexual past, as if that would somehow mitigate raping a child.  In another case, he argued that a man convicted of forcing two 15-year-old girls to commit sexual acts with him should have been able to argue that the victims were bisexual and in a relationship together – something a lower court had already ruled as “at best, speculative” and a line of irrelevancy that would have “confused the jury by diverting its attentions to issues that were not germane to this trial.”  But hey – what’s a little child rape after all, when there are right-wing fundamentalist principles at stake?

31. There are times when it is hard to maintain a devotion to the Constitutional prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, and the fate of assholes like Moore and those who continue to support him in the face of his crimes is definitely one of those times.

32. Moore’s lawyer, "Trenton R. Garmon, JD MA," according to the identifiers under his signature, sent what might be the most incoherent, error-riddled, borderline incomprehensible letter ever written by a certified lawyer in American history, demanding, well, we’re not sure.  Might be some kind of tantrum directed at news organizations reporting on Moore’s child molesting ways.  Might be asking for recipes.  Hard to tell really.  As Joe Patrice of Above the Law said, “I know 14-year-olds who write better.  Sadly, Roy Moore might too.”

33. White House economic advisor Gary Cohn apparently lives in some kind of alternative reality where giving piles of money to people who already have more money than they know what to do with will in some way affect their behavior in a positive way.  When he asked a group of CEOs to raise their hands if they’ll boost investment with the windfall tax cuts they’re scheduled to receive from der Sturmtrumper’s boneheaded tax plan, a grand total of, well, not many, actually raised their hands.  “Why aren’t the other hands up?” Cohn asked.  Because that’s a really stupid thing to expect, that’s why.

34. The latest distraction technique being pushed by der Sturmtrumper and his minions and lackeys is the idea that Hillary Clinton, during her time as Secretary of State, somehow sold 20% of America’s uranium supply to the Russians in exchange for over a hundred million dollars being funneled back to the Clinton Foundation.  The fact that this is ludicrously false hasn’t stopped the tale from being spread like wildfire across the far right, because really what are they going to do – accept reality?  It’s such a ridiculous bit of nonsense that even Fox News has debunked it.  Shepard Smith points out a number of things:  “First, the Clinton State Department had no power to veto or approve that transaction. … Further, neither Secretary Clinton nor the committee [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS – the group that did make the decision] as a whole could stop any deal of this kind.”  And most of the money that ended up in the hands of the Clinton Foundation was given by a guy who sold his stake in the uranium company three years before the deal and a year and a half before Clinton even became Secretary of State.  So, yes, another bogus distraction from the people who desperately want you not to notice their crimes.

35. This of course did not go over well with your average Fox viewer, who reacts very poorly to his (almost always his) precious ideological bubble being perforated by actual reality and facts.  Poor Shepard Smith, doomed to a career of pointing out the obvious to the oblivious.

36. This is part of a larger effort by der Sturmtrumper to attack his 2016 opponent on purely political grounds, a first in American history.  In a democracy, the winners win and the losers go home and that’s the end of that.  In a tin-horn dictatorship, the winners persecute the losers for having the temerity to challenge their all-powerful authority.  Guess which one der Sturmtrumper thinks he’s running.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.

37. And just in case you were wondering how low der Sturmtrumper can go, the next plan is to reverse the ban on elephant trophies and start encouraging the kind of big game hunting that most people thought was uncivilized half a century ago.  Bravely striding ass-backward into stupidity, that’s our Fearless Leader.

38. Here in Wisconsin, where the Right Wing Revolution has been in process for over half a decade now, we’re seeing the fruits of what happens when extremists seize power.  One of the first things that Governor Teabagger (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries) did after being installed into office was launch a frenzied assault on the middle class.  Act 10, as it was called her, gutted collective bargaining rights for public workers, slashed their benefits, and generally made it clear that the Wisconsin GOP regarded its own workforce as little more than leeches.  This was especially true for teachers, who have been demonized, belittled, and treated as if they were expendable cogs.  Add to that the fact that Governor Teabagger (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries) slashed over $2,000,000,000 out of education in this state from top to bottom – cut the university system to shreds, took money out of the public schools and gave it to unaccountable private con job charter schools – so the teachers couldn’t actually do their jobs no matter how hard they tried.  And you know what?  Strangely enough, this has made Wisconsin’s once-proud public education system corrode and decay.  Median teacher compensation has dropped by nearly 13% ($10,843) since Act 10 was passed, turnover rates have nearly doubled, and student performance on the standardized tests that are such the vogue these days has dropped.  Huh.  You call people names, slash their pay, take away their job security, and they leave and you’re worse off?  Who could have seen that coming?  Except anyone with a brain, of course.

39.  Yeah, well.  Education just makes the peasants uppity.  Can’t have that in the New Gilded Age, now, can we?

40. Al Franken too?  Well, hell.


LucyInDisguise said...

13. And just why, pray tell, should numbers be allowed to stand apart?

37. Conservation thru elimination, a GOP staple. Why do you sound so surprised?

40. Yeah, well indeed. I sincerely hope we are about see a wave of old white guys being outed for their behavior over the centuries. This should not come as a surprise to anyone. Especially us old white guys. What was sincerely refreshing was Senator Franken's response. What was entirely predictable was Donnybumpkin's twit. I mean tweet.

Yesterday, I had suffered the joy of spending 8 hours, not including the lunch break, attending a federally mandated class regarding [subject] with a number of other men (and I use that "men" label very loosely) who have all clearly partaken of the republican Kool-aid. After the lunch break, discussion devolved into the current politics, and I found myself listening, slack-jawed, and clearly outnumbered, to 18 individuals who see nothing at all wrong with the current status quo. Roy? Nothing wrong with that! After all, who hasn't assaulted a young girl.? Hillary? Lock her up! LGBTQ? Stuff all that back in the closet. Tax reform? Can't see why there is any need to debate that. Put it on the desk and get Orange Julius Caesar to sign that shit - our companies will then have the ability to trickle down on us and we'll all be rich!

After 40 minutes of listening to that shit, I handed the instructor a note reminding him that I, for one, was in that classroom for one purpose, and one purpose only - and he really should return to doing his job regarding [subject]. As I handed him the note I informed him that I was going outside for a smoke, and asked him to send someone out to get me if and or when they returned to [subject].

When I returned about ten minutes later, the atmosphere in the room was decidedly and remarkably chillier. Everyone wanted to know why I didn't want to listen to their bullshit - but I refused to engage. Cowardice? Not likely - we were in that classroom for federally required training - training we need in order to do our jobs. We were not there to engage in political debate.

I did, however, invite any and all to stay after class to do precisely that at the end of the day. Not one of those flaming assholes had the balls to take me on.

Odin, Thor, and Eir, thank you for granting me the strength to restrain myself.


David said...

You are a far more restrained person than I. And really - chillier? They and the horses they rode in on can find more entertaining way to spend their time. After the barbarisms inflicted on the republic this year by smug, self-satisfied, ragingly ignorant right-wing extremists, I no longer feel any need to be polite to them. Not surprised that they too cowardly to debate - reality is not kind to the modern American right wing.

I'm not sure why I am continually amazed at the depths of ignorance and depravity (and, even more so, the approval of it by the unthinking horde), but there it is.

LucyInDisguise said...

I now understand the whole mindset behind at least some of the mass shootings. And the need for better gun control.

I could have easily made the evening news yesterday.

Ignorance was not an issue. Not even willful ignorance. Those demoralized examples of mentally deficient homo sapiens should not be allowed air without paying for it.

"Depths of ignorance and depravity" does not even begin to plumb the depths of morally flawed psychosis where those deranged cartoon caricatures live. I actually, LITERALLY felt the need to take a long hot shower when I got home.

May I please purchase a one-way ticket back to normality now?

Or maybe you could get me some of this:
for Thanksgiving.


David said...

The whole point of gun control is that people are erratic, exasperating, impulsive, prone to thoughtless violence, and generally one bad day away from taking out the next person who pisses them off, and those are the ones who cannot legally be declared mentally ill. Take the guns out of the equation and it becomes much harder to kill people, and since most people are also lazy this means that fewer people (not NONE, just fewer) will die. It's amazing how few people "mental illness" ends up shooting in countries that regulate guns sensibly, isn't it?

I can sympathize with your plight, and I hope you enjoyed that long hot shower.

I may just have to buy that flask.

LucyInDisguise said...

"...erratic, exasperating, impulsive, prone to thoughtless violence, and generally one bad day away from taking out the next person who pisses them off."

Erratic. Nope.
Exasperated. Understated.
Impulsive. Not since my drinking days.
Prone thoughtless violence. Nope. When I go off, it is always well thought out and meticulously planned.
One bad day away ... Why wait for a bad day?
... Pisses them off? Nailed it!

Haven't owned a firearm since the 80s - which is probably a good thing.

Shower was good, just ineffective in accomplishing intended objective. The flask was a no-brainer. Now I just need the actual brain bleach to fill it with.