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. Ah, yes, CPAC – the annual exercise in right-wing lunacy that every now and then breaks into some embarrassing honesty about the conservative mind in America today. Ian Walters, who is (I kid you not) the communications director for CPAC and in theory should know how to present a talking point to the public, went out of his way to describe former RNC Chair Michael Steele as little more than a token nod to equality. In response to the election of Obama, Walters said, “what did we do? This is a terrible thing: we elected Mike Steele as RNC chair because he’s a black guy. That was the wrong thing to do.” When Steele confronted CPAC Chair Matt Schlapp about this, Schlapp responded by trying to change the subject, telling Steele that “You’ve been rather critical of some of the more conservative aspects of the Trump phenomenon.” “What the hell does my race have to do with that?” Steele replied. “You mean to tell me that as a black conservative I can’t be critical of the President?” Yes, Mike – that’s exactly what he’s telling you. Now get to the back of the bus and stop bothering the white folks. The unbridled racism of this crowd never fails to emerge no matter how much they try to cloak it in pretty rhetoric.
2. For context, remember that CPAC is the place where at a “minority outreach session” in 2013 a CPAC member defended slavery as good for blacks because slave owners fed and housed their slaves and then when asked if he disagreed with slavery described it as a “complicated issue. I can’t make one broad statement that categorically it was evil all the time because that’s not true.” Uh, dude – yes it is. Slavery is an unmitigated evil, and if you don’t know that there is no hope for you. I suppose it’s no surprise that the party that failed the slavery test in 2013 also failed the Nazi test four years later. But MAGA, right?
3. Der Sturmtrumper and the President of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, spoke for nearly an hour trying to arrange a state visit to the US for Nieto, but it all fell apart when der Sturmtrumper “lost his temper” (according to Fox “News”) because Nieto wanted der Sturmtrumper to publicly acknowledge that Mexico wasn’t going to pay for his damned wall. This is our diplomat in chief, folks – making the world hate us, one country at a time. The Fox article concluded by noting that while der Sturmtrumper honked off a great deal during his campaign about Mexico paying for his stupid wall, “Trump has since requested $23 billion in his latest budget proposal to Congress – the majority of which would go toward building the wall.” Not sure what the larger picture of the $23 billion was, but clearly the US taxpayer is going to be stuck with the bill if this boondoggle ever does go forward.
4. Sometimes you just have to wonder what kind of post-apocalyptic wasteland der Sturmtrumper’s mind actually is. Apparently he bragged to CPAC that he would have run into the school where the Parkland Massacre took place, during the shooting, even without a gun. Because he is a Heap Big Hero Man. Yes, this is the same guy who dodged the draft five times because his feet hurt. But you know what? On a purely practical note, der Sturmtrumper playing hero would have saved the rest of us a whole lot of problems going forward. You do that next time, Donny.
5. In a sign that perhaps the stranglehold on public debate that the NRA has enjoyed for the last forty years is cracking under the weight of dead children and the righteous wrath of the survivors, a rapidly increasing number of large corporations have announced that they will no longer do business with what was once a respectable sportsman’s organization and is now a sponsor of domestic terrorism. Money talks and bullshit walks, folks. This is how the tobacco companies lost control of the narrative. May the merchants of death do likewise.
6. Of course, such temerity on the part of American citizens cannot go unpunished by the far right. According to Jim Wright in a Facebook post from February 26, “Georgia's Lt Governor just announced that he fully intends to use the power of his office to illegally punish a private company: ‘I will kill any tax legislation that benefits Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with NRA. Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back.’ Essentially a public announcement that he intends to abuse his government position to punish a private company for exercising its rights to do business, or not, with whomever it pleases.” It’s never about freedom with authoritarians. It’s always about power. Remember that, next time one of them gets spittle in your face while screaming at you.
7. I cannot tell you just how mind-alteringly stupid the NRA’s idea of arming teachers would be. First of all, speaking as a teacher here in a GOP-throttled state, those bastards can’t even be bothered to pay for paper, printer ink, or health benefits and now they want to give us guns? Also, this:
8. Of course, expecting the NRA/GOP complex to have any even remote connection with reality is perhaps expecting too much. Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) insists that the “real” reason for all these shootings is too many violent video games and not enough Jesus. Except, you know, for places like Japan, which spends more on video games than we do, is 99% non-Christian, and four years ago had a grand total of 6 gun deaths. Try again, idiot. His colleague, Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) agrees, which only goes to show you that Stupid is contagious.
9. It probably isn’t a coincidence that Rep. Russell owns a rifle factory.
10. It’s also probably not a coincidence that a poll taken in April 2017 showed that 67% of gun owners believe that the NRA has been “overtaken by lobbyists and the interests of gun manufacturers and lost its original purpose and mission,” and no longer represents them. 60% of gun owners want guns banned inside schools. And yet here we are.
11. Yes, the vast majority of Americans across the political spectrum support universal background checks for all firearms purchases. Don’t kid yourself.
12. The NRA is whining that the high school students who are criticizing their reckless advocacy of killing machines are just big bullies. So, in other words, a bunch of men who have been for years carrying semi-automatic weapons and bravely shouting about how they need those firearms to defend freedom against the Big Bad Gubmint are now cowering in front of angry teenagers and begging them to stop? Wow. I’ve been calling those guns “penis substitutes” for years now without ever really expecting the NRA to confirm that so boldly. Good job, mates.
13. I suppose part of the problem is that the GOP refuses to admit that the people who know better than they do have any right to have an opinion different from theirs. The amount of bald-faced nonsense that has been vomited forth by Republicans and ammosexuals (groups that overlap considerably these days) in a pathetic attempt to discredit the Parkland students has been conclusive proof of moral disease. I’m not sure why some armchair militia bro thinks anyone should pay attention to him when it comes to this, but there it is.
For perspective, consider this:
Although Hamilton may have been 19, not 21. Historians aren’t sure, and 18th-century orphans tended not to be very reliable about that sort of thing. The point stands, however.
14. And now the Oath Keepers – a violently paranoid group of heavily armed wannabes dedicated to a thoroughly hallucinatory view of the US Constitution that, among other things, promotes shoving guns down the throat of an unwilling public – has decided that they have the right to force their presence on unwilling public schools as well. And under American law, they do! Even though no public school has asked for it and the one district where one of these Special Gentlemen has actually set himself up has clearly said they don’t see this as an actual improvement on student safety! Isn’t that just the sweetest thing? Isn’t that grand? They claim that they are protecting the students therein, except that they seem to regard those students as “the enemy” (their words, not mine). In particular, those students who have survived a massacre perpetrated by a similar paranoid wannabe with a big gun and have spoken out against future such massacres – those students are “the enemy.” They presented a webinar on their plans (really, they did) that was full of half-baked conspiracy theories (Parkland was a setup by liberals! Emma Gonzalez, the massacre survivor currently pressing for meaningful reforms that might prevent such massacres is a “young Communist”!) so far-fetched that you wonder how anyone capable of conceiving such things would be allowed to walk the streets unmedicated. This, folks, is why we can’t have nice things in this country.
15. There is nothing to add to this except to point out that, having been on the receiving end of this irrelevant nonsense when making an actual point in a debate, it really needs to stop.
16. Seen on Facebook: “I never thought I’d see a time when ‘please stop shooting our children’ became a ‘liberal talking point’ according to the ‘pro-life’ crowd.”
I can’t say I’m surprised. It has been my experience that “pro-life” just means “pro-birth.” They don’t really give a damn about what happens to kids after that, especially if they grow up to be women. It really frosts these people that the most outspoken member of the Parkland survivors is a woman.
17. We’ve now had at least two more school shootings in the time I’ve taken to compile this list. Multiple fatalities. Aggrieved young men with too much firepower. The standard American litany. Cue the NRA defending the guns. Cue the conspiracy theorists raving like the lunatics they are about “false flag operations” and “crisis actors” and whatever other bullshit their tiny little brains can muster up to try to divert attention from the fact that once again this country cannot keep people safe at its schools because we love our guns more than we love our children. If you think this is acceptable, then you can fuck off. If you think that somehow, some way, limiting access to military grade firepower the way every civilized nation on earth has already done and that has worked in every one of those nations to make mass shootings so vanishingly rare there isn’t the answer, then you can fuck off twice and keep fucking off until you get to a sign that says “No Fucking Off Beyond This Point” and then you can climb over that sign and continue fucking off until you return back to your original starting point. And then you can fuck off again.
18. Does anyone in the White House have a genuine Top Secret security clearance, or have they all decided that actual information isn’t necessary for their jobs? This is amateur hour, and it will not end well.
19. So Russia sends out an explicit threat of nuclear war against the US and der Sturmtrumper’s response is to angrily criticize pretty much everyone other than Russia. MAGA, right? Sweet dancing monkeys on a stick, whatever the Russians are blackmailing der Sturmtrumper with it had better be good. Otherwise he’s refusing to defend this country from foreign attack for the sheer joy of it.
20. I see the NRA has talked der Sturmtrumper down from the gun control ledge, as if there were any doubt of that happening in the first place. Although when he said that the government would “take the guns first, go through due process second,” the collective wailing and gnashing of teeth from the ammosexuals was worth the price of admission, really.
21. Let me get this straight: der Sturmtrumper, for Reasons, has decided to initiate a trade war with pretty much the entire rest of the globe because he thinks such wars are easy to win? Uh, dude? Have you any connection to reality at all, or does the view from inside your lower intestine suffice for all your needs? Yes, stocks briefly crashed, though they seem to have recovered based on other things. Yes, the rest of the world is once again confirmed in their decision to view the US as unreliable and possibly dangerous to global security and prosperity, and this will not be recovered from due to other things because as long as this idiot is in charge there are no other things. No, this will not end well either. It never does.
22. Hope Hicks lasted just under 20 Mooches. I suspect she will be polishing up her defense strategy with her attorney soon.
23. Speaking of needing an attorney, apparently poor Jared has been outed as the venal crook that everyone outside of der Sturmtrumper’s bubble already knew he was. Kushner had his security clearance downgraded to “tourist” based on a list of vulnerabilities and crimes that would take more patience than this writer has to enumerate – the revelations regarding his loans from banks immediately following meetings at the White House being just the tip of that iceberg – and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, really.
24. According to multiple senior level officials within the US intelligence community, the Russians penetrated the electoral system of seven US states during the 2016 election, including Wisconsin where der Sturmtrumper won by a rather slim margin. Governor Teabagger (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries) refuses to admit anything, of course, because why would he when his own frantic efforts regarding voter suppression can be credited with the same result regardless of what the Russians did? But folks, this is a harbinger. Watch for more Russian interference in November’s election. Yes, dear readers, this is where I remind you once again that we lost a war we didn’t even know we were fighting against Russia in 2016, and the Quislings are now in charge.
25. Just pointing out that four months later there are still half a million American citizens without power in Puerto Rico. Not that der Sturmtrumper or his minions care, of course, as those American citizens are rather dark-skinned and Spanish-speaking for their tastes, but still. Americans. Heckuva job, Donnie.
26. Did you know that the State Department was granted $120,000,000 to fight Russian meddling in American politics and elections? It’s true! Do you know how much of that they’ve actually spent to fight Russian meddling in American politics and elections? $0! That’s right, folks! Nothing! But yeah, tell me how der Sturmtrumper isn’t a wholly owned subsidiary of Putin’s Russia. Sure. Right.
27. So der Sturmtrumper thinks it’s a wonderful idea that the Chinese president can serve for life. So wonderful, in fact, that he is all in favor of that kind of dictatorial power grab here in the US, presumably for himself though perhaps he will be selfless and let one of his kids have the job. I must admit that if you had told me, even during the depths of the Dick Cheney years, that an American president would openly praise the overthrow of constitutional limits on power and recommend that as a model for American politics, I would have considered you to be a bug-eyed conspiracy theorist in serious need of medication. Now, I hear it directly from the horse’s, uh, mouth. Folks, when people show you who they are, believe them.
28. One of the more interesting claims made by the former British spy Christopher Steele – the man who brought you the Russian dossier, which has proven to be surprisingly accurate in a lot of ways – is that Rex Tillerson got the job of Secretary of State because Russia preferred him over Mitt Romney. We're a colony of the Kremlin now?
29. Does anyone know how many hallucinogenics Sam Nunberg was taking before he went live on the air with multiple interviews threatening to skip out on a subpoena from Robert Mueller (a position he’s already walked back, to nobody's surprise), accusing der Sturmtrumper of ever-increasing crimes, and doing his best to protect Roger Stone from investigative eyes? Or how much he felt he needed to be today’s distraction from the ongoing rush of criminal revelations regarding der Sturmtrumper’s administration? Enquiring minds want to know.
30. Well, der Sturmtrumper’s tariff plan has claimed its first victim, and it’s not a foreign economy. Der Sturmtrumper’s top economic advisor, Gary Cohn, has decided that losing that argument was apparently the last straw, so out he goes. Rats, sinking ships, it’s all a party these days.
31. The US Office of Special Counsel is on record saying that White House official Kellyanne Conway (remember her?) violated the Hatch Act during last year’s Alabama special election for the Senate by twice “advocating for and against candidates.” Now, in an administration that had any respect for the rule of law, the Constitution, morality, and common sense, Conway would be immediately placed on leave, investigated, fired, and brought to trial. Remember when we had that kind of administration? It wasn’t that long ago, folks. Conway remains gainfully employed, if you're wondering.
32. With all the chaos at the White House, even der Sturmtrumper is beginning to break down. According to interviews conducted with 22 White House officials, friends and advisors to der Sturmtrumper, and other administration allies by the Washington Post, “aides over the past week have described an air of anxiety and volatility – with an uncontrollable commander in chief at its center. … As one official put it: ‘We haven’t bottomed out.’” They cite his radical backtracking and zigzagging on policy (sure! Let’s take all the guns!), his random trade war, his “roiling feud of playground insults with Attorney General Jeff Sessions,” and his increasing isolation as his staff and appointees flee for higher and more legally secure ground. “I think the president is starting to wobble in his emotional stability and this is not going to end well,” said General Barry McCaffrey (US Army, ret.) “Trump’s judgment is fundamentally flawed, and the more pressure put on him and the more isolated he becomes, I think, his ability to do harm is going to increase.” According to Peter Wehner, who served in three previous Republican administrations and is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, “Trump’s fundamentally distorted personality – which at its core is chaotic, volatile and transgressive – when combined with the powers of the presidency had to end poorly. What we’re now seeing is the radiating effects of that, and it’s enveloped him, his White House, his family and his friends.” Yes, folks, this is the guy with his finger on the nuclear button. Sleep well, if you can.
33. It turns out that states with strong gun laws tend to have lower rates of gun-related murders and suicides, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medicine. Slightly more than 12,000 people are murdered every year with guns, and roughly twice that many kill themselves with guns. While states are at the mercy of their neighbors when it comes to such things – which is one of the reasons why Chicago (which has relatively strict laws) has such a high rate of gun murders, being next to places that don’t – the general trend is both clear and, for anyone with more than six working brain cells, obvious. Cue the ammosexuals attempting to deny this and generally not convincing anyone other than people who also think the cure to too many guns is more guns. Hey! The place is on fire! Better get more matches!
34. Our Confederate Attorney General – the chief law enforcement official in the land, you’ll note – has decided to sue the state of California to force them to implement his master’s policies regarding the persecution of immigrants. And this would just be another case of the immoral and powerful stomping on the vulnerable – a popular pastime among the right wing – except for the fact that he has no actual standing to bring that suit. The Supreme Court has ruled on this issue several times now, in fact. In Printz v US (1997) the Court held that the federal government had no authority to command state law enforcement to conduct background checks on people who wanted to buy guns, and in NY v US (1992) the Court ruled that Congress couldn’t require states to pass specific laws which they would then have to enforce. If the federal government wants federal law enforced and the states refuse to cooperate, then the feds have to enforce it. It’s that whole “states’ rights” thing that right-wingers bang on about whenever they want to be more racist than the Constitution allows. Damned inconvenient when the situation is reversed and it’s the feds who want to be more racist than the states wish to be. You’d think the chief law enforcement officer of the American republic would have figured that out, but then this crowd isn’t big on laws or Constitutions to begin with, so you’d be wrong.
35. Well, blow me down. The Florida House has voted to pass a gun control bill. The minimum age to purchase a gun would go from 18 to 21, there would be a 3-day waiting period for all gun purchases, and funds would be provided for school police officers and mental health counselors. In Florida! The state where the NRA test markets its ever-more-radical gun laws on an unsuspecting population and where guns have long been king. It even got support from the GOP. “This may be the most consequential vote we ever take on this floor,” said GOP State Rep. Shawn Harrison of Tampa. “Grown-ups protect our kids. It’s what we do. It’s our turn. Don’t let them down.” And don’t ever underestimate the moral force of kids, without whose activism this massacre would have been just one more forgotten tragedy in a nation too armed for its own good.
36. This bill is not enough. It arms educators, a phenomenally stupid and counterproductive move as noted above, and it has holes in it big enough to drive a truck bomb through. But it’s a start.
37. It’s enough of a start that the NRA has already sued the State of Florida because mumblemumblemumbleGUNZ! So there’s that.
38. Remember when Republicans were all hot and bothered by Hillary Clinton’s emails? Remember when they ran around with their hair on fire and shouting “Lock her up!” because she used a personal email to conduct official government business? Well the Indianapolis Star reports that “Vice President Mike Pence routinely used a private email account to conduct public business as governor of Indiana, at times discussing sensitive matters and homeland security matters.” Wasn’t this supposed to be a security risk, you ask? Why yes, says the Star: “Pence’s personal account was hacked last summer.” So naturally Republicans all across the nation are burning Pence in effigy, demanding he resign and be tried as a criminal, and generally Not Being Flaming Hypocrites, right? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I kill me.
38. Did you catch Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on 60 Minutes? No? Well, my friends, you missed an absolute barn burner of an interview, one that prompted The Onion’s AV Club to note that “over the course of the interview, it becomes clear that DeVos may not really know how schools work or what a school even is.” Amid an avalanche of inarticulate, incoherent answers to specific questions, The Onion noted that “Perhaps more than anyone in the Trump administration, Betsy DeVos’ success stands as a testament to how much you can achieve without knowledge or qualifications. And that’s got to be inspiring for all the students watching at home.” Malignant incompetence – that’s der Sturmtrumper and his minions, lackeys, supporters and enablers for you.
39. The monthly federal budget deficit hit an all-time high in February, at $215,200,000,000, more or less – up 12.5% from last February, and about on level with the increase in fiscal irresponsibility that has taken place since the Republicans in Congress shoved through der Sturmtrumper’s tax cut and budget plan. But yeah, “party of fiscal responsibility” and all that. What’s interesting is that even on day one of this news, as it slowly filters across my social media feeds, I see so many people blaming Obama for it. Or saying how much worse it would be if we still had a social safety net to keep people from starving. Right. We spend more on defense than the next twelve nations combined (and about 8.5x what Russia spends), der Sturmtrumper and his lackeys just gave over a trillion dollars to the already wealthy, and corporate subsidies are through the roof, but that $3 million we would have spent on Meals on Wheels is just such a budget buster isn’t it? Try again.
40. Well Exxon’s Own Secretary of State is out. From what I gather, der Sturmtrumper fired him through an intermediary, because the man has no balls and can’t even fire people directly. Not coincidentally, this happened mere hours after Tillerson dared to criticize Russia for assassinating someone on British soil – an act of war that the British are still trying to figure out a response to and which der Sturmtrumper has yet to say anything about, even though the British government has confirmed it. And now Tillerson – the patsy that the Russians asked for instead of Mitt Romney – is gone because he suddenly grew a backbone and we can’t have that in this administration. The CIA guy is going to be the next Secretary of State (and good luck with that), which means that the CIA is going to be in the hands of someone whose main claim to fame was running a torture site in Thailand then destroying evidence about it. All the best people.
41. Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein was also fired for contradicting the Official Version of Tillerson’s firing. Hello, banana republic. If you think this is normal, you are the problem.
42. Der Sturmtrumper’s personal assistant, John McEntree, was also fired this week and was escorted out of the White House without even being given time to collect his jacket. Such a well-run machine this administration.
43. I suppose noting that James Schwab, the spokesman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Francisco, has resigned because he got tired of lying for his bosses would just be overkill, but I can’t help myself. Both Our Confederate Attorney General and ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan lied about an anti-immigrant raid in February, blaming the Oakland mayor for the fact that they missed a lot of the people they were targeting in this raid. “I quit because I didn’t want to perpetrate misleading facts,” Schawb said. “I asked them to change the information. I told them that the information was wrong, they asked me to deflect, and I didn’t agree with that. Then I took some time and I quit. … I just couldn’t bear the burden – continuing on as a representative of the agency and charged with upholding integrity, knowing that information was false.” Fortunately for der Sturmtrumper, there are plenty of people without any integrity at all who would love to work for him and bear false witness in the name of a hate-filled agenda, so I doubt the position will remain unfilled for long.
44. The Onion – which I hasten to point out is a satire site and not usually considered to be a source of hard news, but these are Poe’s Law times we live in after all – notes for the record that the only adult left in der Sturmtrumper’s administration is nicknamed “Mad Dog.” Think about that, why don’t you.
45. House Republicans have investigated Republican collusion with Russia and concluded that Republicans did not collude with Russia because Republicans. Will now appoint fox to guard henhouse. Details at 11.
46. Let’s just look at a few odd little coincidences, shall we? Der Sturmtrumper has relied on Russian money to fund his businesses for decades now. He openly courted Putin while staging a beauty pageant in Moscow. He is linked through many sources and projects to organized crime in Russia. His campaign advisors – notably Paul Manafort, Carter Page (identified by US intelligence as a possible Russian spy years before working for der Sturmtrumper) and Michael Flynn – had substantial ties to Russian money, propaganda, and intelligence services. His campaign met repeatedly with Russian agents. He openly called for Russia to intervene in the 2016 election. He has defended Russia at every turn, even to the point of attacking American officials and interests around the globe. He has refused to do anything to protect the US against documented Russian attacks on American electoral systems. At some point the coincidences begin to tell, don’t they? Or they would if anyone would listen.
45. Representative Tom Rooney (R-FL) has the backbone to say what most of his party will not: that the complete whitewash perpetrated by the House GOP trying to deny the obvious about Russian collusion is a disaster. “We’ve gone completely off the rails,” he said, and now we’re just basically a political forum for people to leak information to drive the day’s news. We’ve lost all credibility, and we’re going to issue probably two different reports, unfortunately.” Oh, yes, you are.
46. Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA), who also sits on that House committee, pointedly observed on Twitter that “GOP just shut down House Intel investigation, leaving questions unanswered, leads unexplored, countless witnesses uncalled, subpoenas unissued.” It’s a clear attempt to bury the investigation before it hits home. There was a time when the GOP cared about the country more than its own power, I’m sure of it. It just hasn’t been for a long, long time.
47. That’s why Evan McMullen – a hardcore conservative from Utah – has pretty much left the party. I’ll let him have the last word this time, and that last word sounds an awful lot like high crimes and misdemeanors all around, really.