6/26/2017

Random Observations on the CBO Score of the Senate's "Health Care" Bill

The Congressional Budget Office is out with its analysis of the Senate's bullshit version of the House's bullshit so-called "health care" bill (which is actually just a fancy way of saying, "Tax cuts for rich fucks"). The title of the Senate bill is even stupider than the "American Health Care Act." It's the "Better Care Reconciliation Act" because, see, it's better, get it? Except, of course, not really.

1. When you hear anthropomorphic banana slug Mitch McConnell or bitch-faced John Cornyn or portly salesman Donald Trump dismiss the CBO score as "politically-motivated" or some such nonsense, just remember: the reason that Senate GOP majority allegedly started from scratch on a bill repealing parts of the Affordable Care Act is that the House bill was too harsh. How did they know it was too harsh? Because of the fucking CBO score of what the effects of the bill would be. The wacky-ass House voted before the CBO estimates came out, so the mighty Senate was going to be all grown up about it by having a he-man woman-haters club of male Republicans write the bill in super-secret and then attempt to ram it through like a fist into an unlubed sphincter.

1a. Oh, they talked a big game way back in early May. Sen. Lamar Alexander said, "There will be no artificial deadlines." Which is just hilarious now since Alexander chairs the committee that deals with health care issues and they will not be having any hearings.

2. As you've probably read by now, the BCRA is estimated to boot 22 million Americans off their health insurance, with 15 million of those losing coverage next year. And you gotta give the GOP a little credit here for not kicking everything down the road. They'll get to look their constituents in the face and say, "Yeah, fuckos, I took away your cancer treatments and got you hooked even deeper on opioids. Now vote for me or I'm lettin' the raping Mexicans back in." And those fuckos will probably vote for their GOP member of Congress, thinking that dying of cancer is a fair trade-off if the raping Mexicans stay out.

2a. Most of the people who will lose coverage are on Medicaid, which is gonna get cut to the tune of $772 billion over ten years, and earn less than 200% of the poverty level, with people 55 to 64 getting punched in the tit more than anyone else.

2b. To put this in perspective, about one out of every 20 people in the United States will lose their health insurance next year if this bill passes.

3. There are two things that Republicans are going to point to in this CBO report as some kind of amazingly awesome shit. One is that it says that, by 2026, premiums will be 20% lower than if things kept on like they are now. But that's because the BCRA reduces coverage by allowing states to apply for waivers for things like "maternity care, mental health care, rehabilitative and habilitative treatment, and certain very expensive drugs." If you don't have to cover mental health or, you know, opioid addiction or, fucking hell, pregnant women, then that'll tend to lower costs. And this bill will jack up deductibles and cost sharing. In one scenario involving a hypothetical single, 40-year-old man, the CBO says that, because of changes to the law, the same insurance he has now will cover only 58% of care where it used to cover 87%. But his premium will be $100 less a year, so bully for him.

3a. The other big news that Republicans are humping like weasels on Cialis is that the deficit reduction is much more than under the House plan, to the tune of $321 billion over 10 years. So $32 billion a year. Which, in a federal budget of nearly $4 trillion is like a flea fart in a tornado. It's like saying, "Look, I saved money by getting a grande iced mocha instead of a venti. I'm frugal" and you're kind of a douche.

4. Most of the rest of the bill, as analyzed by the CBO (and others), ping-pongs between dickish and cruel. From reducing funds for women's health (including eliminating any money for Planned Parenthood) so that 15% fewer women will have access to care to repealing funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which assists with things like immunizations and research into better health practices to the tremendous hike in premiums for people just below Medicare age to the fact that low-income people simply won't be able to afford insurance, this bill just isn't "mean." It's fucking pathetic and a goddamned embarrassment.

4a. And yet there are Republicans for whom this doesn't go far enough,  who don't see this as an Obamacare repeal, who haven't harmed the black president enough, who won't be happy until they're dancing on the bones of their duped voters. But those are the ones who will probably shitcan this thing. Strange bedfellows, motherfuckers, in strange times.

5. But, hey, rich fucks get a half-trillion bucks in tax cuts, so drinks are on them. Lots of drinks. Enough to ease the pain. Because there is no guarantee that this thing's going down, not when you have to rely on alleged moderate Republicans and spineless worms like McCain, not when elected officials and cabinet members feel free to just lie about it without consequence, not when rich fucks can get richer off the diminishing health of the poor and other people they deem unworthy of the security they get to enjoy in their land of the free and home of the savage.

6/22/2017

The Comey "Tapes" Lie: Chaos Is Trump's Greatest Weapon

The first time Trump tweeted about it, it was fucked up enough: "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" The fuck did that mean, "tapes," with the suspicious quotation marks around it? Is that supposed to provide him with an out, like when he first put the quotes around "wires tapped" when he accused President Obama of spying on him?

Trump and his staff teased about whether or not there were tapes of Oval Office meetings, to the point that congressional committees with subpoena power started to get antsy about it. The Trumparazzi were coy, saying that they'd tell the public at some vague point in the future. Trump himself said that journalists would be "disappointed" with the answer, which is a way of saying, "I ain't got any tapes," but not really a definitive "yes" or "no."

Now, finally, forced to say something before shit got litigious, Trump sent out another fucked up thing (in two tweets): "With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are 'tapes' or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings." Motherfucker, you're the one who brought up all that shit and the idea that there might be tapes. Or, you know, "tapes."

You can take this, as David Frum did, that Trump was forced to admit he lied and that every leader around the world will think, "Fuck this lying piece of orangutan dung." But, see, we all knew he was a liar. The only people Donald Trump gives a fuck about are, in order of importance, 1. Donald Trump. And, as proven by the slavering love given to him last night at his pep rally of doom, the only thing that Trump's idiot hordes give a fuck about is that their mad king continues to piss off liberals. They'll be gasping for breath in their black lungs that don't get covered by insurance, but, yeah, stick it to the pussies, Mr. President, hack, hack, hack.

I'm pretty sure, at this point, heads of states understand that they are dealing with a sociopath and have adjusted accordingly, mostly to our detriment. But the real fear here is not that China's leaders will think that Trump's not telling the truth. The real issue is that China's leaders, congressional leaders, and most Americans have no fucking clue what the fuck Trump is going to do and whether he's telling the truth about anything. And the real problem is that there are too many Americans who don't give a happy monkey fuck whether or not he's lying.

In other words, chaos is Trump's strongest weapon, and he wields it without cease. He is deliberately sowing chaos into the politics of the nation and, indeed, the world. To put it simply, this crazy son of a bastard is completely unpredictable, something Trump himself bragged about himself during the campaign, as if it was an asset in an unstable world to be the most unstable force.

His speech to a group of some of the dumbest victims in American history last night in Iowa City is a prime example. He rambled about his victory (again), he said that Mexico would pay for the wall (his "Free Bird"), and he bizarrely asserted that he would propose legislation that is exactly the same as a law that's been around since Bill Clinton signed it (on welfare benefits for immigrants). He lied about the Paris Accord, he lied about environmental policy, he lied about arms sales to Saudi Arabia, he lied, lied, lied.

Which gets us back to the "tapes." Of course there are no tapes. Or recordings. Or are there and he knows that they make him look bad? Or does someone else have recordings, which Trump implies is a possibility? What the fuck is the full story? No, no, of course, there are no tape. Or are there? That's the nature of his answer.

Again, it is wrong to read this as anything other than an attempt to keep his opponents off their game, forcing them to reply to lies, which he follows with something dunderheaded like, "Yeah, like you know." And it keeps him just popular enough to give Republicans cover to enact the worst policies while we try to figure out what fucking world we're living in now, a world that is so destabilized that the ground underneath our feet is ever-shifting until it collapses and swallows us and, god, please let that be soon.

6/20/2017

Note to Democrats: A Little Hyperbole Wouldn't Hurt in the Battle Against the AHCA

Over on the right, there isn't a lie vomited out by Fox "news," Breitbart, or President Trump (all increasingly one and the same) that their followers will not believe. Yesterday, on the Twitter machine, I got into a pissing match with a fuckwit who insisted that "The Democrats passed Obama care by shoving it through without allow a single GOP member to read the bill." (All the errors are his.) Loads of conservatives believe this utterly easily disprovable bullshit.

Also yesterday, Chuck Schumer got Joni Ernst, acting as Senate President, to admit how much goddamn time was spent on the Affordable Care Act. Ernst sounds like she's swallowing rotten pig balls when she has to state that the ACA got "25 days of hearings and 169 hours of consideration." That's not counting weekends and recesses. In all, Senators had over 2 months from the first introduction of the bill to the Senate floor to the final vote. And Democrats weren't hiding it in the first place, since there had been a year of discussion and hearings prior to it coming to the entire Senate. So, you know, go fuck yourself with the sharp end of your talking point.

The only reason we're in this ludicrous mess with the American Health Care Act, the garbage bill that passed the House and is being rewritten in secret in the Senate, is because Republicans and their enablers were great at making the ACA seem like it was going to put on jackboots, walk into your home, kill your parents, and beat your spouse. Remember the "death panels"? How people actually acted like that was in the bill? How no one could successfully articulate that the real death panels were called insurance companies denying benefits for pre-existing conditions or when a limit on a benefit was reached?

Nothing could break through the thick layer of lie and hyperbole that was heaped on the public. Democrats were terrible messengers, either running away from the ACA because they bought the GOP's cruel fraud. Or they just sucked in even delivering positive news. Obamacare could have provided people with daily multiple orgasms, and Democrats would have fucked up articulating how that's a good thing.

Here we are, in the thick of a battle against some vague, but no doubt savage piece of legislation, and the left is just really gearing up for it. At this point, there should be ads from SuperPACs running constantly about how bad the AHCA is. And you know what? A little hyperbole wouldn't hurt about now. Mitch McConnell is trying to rape the nation with this spiked dildo of a law while so-called "moderate" Republicans do their usual dance of fake dignity, pretending like they actually give two shits about what McConnell is doing in the writing of the bill.

So there is a space for Democrats to creatively show the effects of a bill that quite simply takes money from the poor, the elderly, the addicted, and the sick and gives it to the very wealthy in the form of a tax cut. That's an easy ad right there: Rich people saunter into a doctor's office and rob a bunch of ill people in the waiting room, leaving them dying and sicker, only without hope of seeing a doctor.

Or how about a real death panel: a row of wealthy people behind a table, making a decision on whether or not each suffering poor person deserves help. Is it over the top? Yeah. That's the fucking point. Subtlety and well-reasoned arguments aren't going to win here because people don't respond to that. They respond to a rich puke punching Gramps in the balls until he hands over his wallet.

Enough with the calm, rational discussions. Enough with the speeches. Go for their throats with an emotional appeal. And that means crying people who would lose health care and the image of the uncaring Republican, ready to intentionally inflict more pain.

6/19/2017

Don't Let the Bastards Murder the Affordable Care Act

Let us say, and why not, that you've got a car you've had for a few years. It was given to you by a boyfriend you broke up with a while back. The car's nothing fancy, but it gets you where you need to go and it's only given you a few minor problems here and there. Maintenance kind of stuff - new tires, a brake job - the stuff you expect to need to do to take good care of the car so it takes good care of you.

Now, let us say, and, indeed, why not, that you start dating a new guy who takes a look at your car and says, "Man, what a piece of shit. I'm gonna get you a new car. A better car. One that won't cost you nearly as much. Better gas mileage. Less repairs. Shiny damn paint job. And you can just trash that thing. That guy you were with before me didn't know shit about cars. I know better." It sounds good. I mean, who doesn't want a new car? But then he drives up in a rusted out hulk that looks like it's been beaten with a sledgehammer in a sand storm. You know it's gonna need a major overhaul, possibly a new engine or transmission. It's gonna be a pain in the ass and cost you a ton.

"The fuck is this?" you ask.

"I promised you a new car," he said. "I got you a new car. Now you can get rid of that car of yours I hate."

You would break up with that shitheel as soon as you could speak the words.

This morning, on NPR's Morning Edition, Tommy Binion, the congressional liaison for the Heritage Foundation (motto: "We came up with Obamacare but now we're too fucking crazy conservative to acknowledge that"), was asked why he thought Senate Republicans were moving forward with their version of the "mean" American Health Care Act, despite it having incredibly high negatives in polling. Binion was frank, saying, "I think what's happening here is [Republicans are] trying desperately to keep their promise to vote for anything that they can call Obamacare repeal. So in this case, yes, they've picked a very unpopular bill. That's part of what the process has thrust upon them. But they're determined to keep their promise."

That's the kind of fuckery we're dealing with. Not only is the bill being written by a shitty star chamber of white dudes who represent less than a quarter of the population of the country, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch "One Day, Children Will Say My Name in the Same Breath as Benedict Arnold" McConnell is determined to get a vote in the next two weeks, with at most 10 hours for senators not locked in a room and forced to breathe in Orrin Hatch's old man farts to read it, debate it, and amend it. That is fucked beyond fucked. That is contorting yourself into a pretzel to suck your own dick kind of fucked. Even the senators themselves can't justify the bill beyond the idea of repealing the ACA.

Here's a handy, one paragraph review of what happened when the Affordable Care Act went to the Senate in 2009: President Obama actively courted Republicans to get on board, especially Maine's Olympia Snowe. Hell, snarky asshole bloggers were pissed about his outreach. The bill was debated in the Senate Finance Committee before it passed from there to the Senate floor. That was after three House committees and the Senate health committee had vetted it, with Republicans able to debate it the whole time. This was followed by weeks of more debate and amendment votes. So if any dumbfuck conservative tries to ejaculate stupidly about how Democrats rushed through the ACA, shove that list from Congress up their idiot asses.

Look, it's time to stick a pin in the left's Russia hard-on right now in order to get all hands, voices, and boots on deck to stop the American Health Care Act from passage. It's a terrible bill filled with terrible ideas, concocted by terrible human beings. So it's time for Hayes/Maddow/O'Donnell/Reid and whoever else to knock off the financial conflict and espionage stories for a while and go whole hog on this. Right now, Democrats are doing something by denying unanimous consent to proceed on any votes in the Senate, and they are holding the floor in a "talkathon," speeches about the unfair process.

But these delay tactics need to be followed by even more. The "filibuster by amendment" is one approach, where Democrats keep proposing amendments that need to be voted on until Republicans agree to hold hearings on the bill. Pressure needs to brought to bear on the seemingly wavering Republican senators, who need to be reminded who will be blamed when the AHCA doesn't do any of the shit voters were promised.

One last thing needs to happen, and I'm frankly stunned that it hasn't happened yet. The Affordable Care Act is the signature achievement of the Obama presidency. Where the fuck is he? Why the fuck isn't Barack Obama barnstorming the country, riling people up? He gets to protect his legacy. Enough of being above the fray. Fuck that. Lives are on the line, man, and a bunch of vicious assholes are shitting all over him.

Obama, Biden, get 'em all out there, giving interviews, tearing into the cruelty of those who want to turn back the clock. This is life and death, motherfuckers. Let's all act like it is.

6/16/2017

Sympathy for the President, a Weak, Sick Old Man

In the wake of the shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, where Republican members of Congress were targeted by an angry, abusive left-wing gunman, calls have gone up on both sides of the mainstream political spectrum for there to be less violent rhetoric and more seeking of common ground. President Trump himself called for such comity shortly after calling the Democrats "obstructionist" and shortly before he accused Democrats and Hillary Clinton of having their own ties to Russia.

But I'm going to rise above petty partisan concerns in order to say something that, while not exactly nice, is completely sympathetic to Donald Trump:

The President is a sick old man who is being taken advantage of by the people around him.

See, I was listening on the ol' NPR last Friday as President Donald Trump made some short remarks in a joint press conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. Trump sounded weak and bored, as he usually does when he's doing something other than praising himself. But what was also noticeable on the radio, when you're not watching his grotesque, puffy face, glistening with a sweaty sheen, is how labored his breathing was. This was an effort, just standing there and reading some remarks. Like an out of shape guy going up multiple staircases, pausing at a landing to catch his breath, Trump sounded worn out, in a way that, say, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, one a bit older and the other slightly younger than Trump, never have.

Trump's health is failing. Physical and mental. If that wasn't obvious from his constant asides and inability to stay on point, here is one of his answers during the press conference: "I can tell you that there are many American investors right now going to Romania and investing. In fact, I was given a chart just before our meeting, and we have people going over to Romania and investing, and they weren’t doing that a number of years ago." A "number of years ago," Romania was a Soviet bloc country that didn't allow investment from the west. He might not know. He might not care. Or, equally likely, he might be completely divorced from the reality of the situation.

But beyond ignorance, there is Trump's reliance on the same phrases over and over. Calling on another reporter, Trump said, "I've got the microphone. If I could only sell that. If I could only sell it. Who would like to ask -- should I take one of the killer networks that treat me so badly as fake news? Should I do that?" He is constantly repeating "fake news," and, now, he's added "witch hunt" to his repertoire.

He has his various obsessions. He's never stopped talking about his election win. In that news conference last Friday, asked about why he felt "vindicated" by James Comey's testimony before a Senate committee, Trump responded, "Yesterday showed no collusion, no obstruction. We are doing very well. That was an excuse by the Democrats, who lost an election that some people think they shouldn't have lost, because it's almost impossible for the Democrats to lose the Electoral College, as you know. You have to run up the whole East Coast and you have to win everything as a Republican, and that's just what we did. So it was just an excuse." It's the same story all the time. I'll leave it to people with medical degrees to attempt a diagnosis, but every person I've known who has Alzheimer's or some form of dementia repeat the same stories over and over to the same people.

A few days later, on this past Tuesday, Trump was talking about health care and said, "Don't forget, on June 16th -- June 14th is my birthday, but June 16th was the day I announced that I was running. Some people said, 'Really? Not going to happen.' And it happened." Obviously, he's upset that everyone doesn't just automatically love him and celebrates what he sees as an improbable victory.

On and on this list could go. His inability to take a short walk in Italy. His constant lashing out. His sullen addiction to TV news. His new obsession with the investigation against him. The fact that the Vice President meets with more foreign leaders than Trump does. Actually, Trump meets with very few people.

If he wasn't a wealthy media figure, Trump would be in a home or hospital, getting the care he needs. Instead, he is allowed to continue in this charade of leadership because it allows the people around him to get what they want, whether it's a repeal of the Affordable Care Act to please the GOP congressional whores, the reversal of humane executive orders on immigration to satisfy the racist nativists, the juice to seal deals for his terrible children, and more. Nobody really freaks out when Trump makes the pronouncements he does because they all know that, ultimately, he's just a mascot and not the one in charge. That was made perfectly clear when he turned over determinations about troop levels in Afghanistan to Secretary of Defense Mattis.

They will keep Trump propped up, even if he becomes a zombie version of himself, Strom Thurmond-like, in order to keep their agenda going or until he's so tainted by scandal that he becomes a vortex, taking down everyone with him. They will push that weak, sick old man until they've used him up.

And, frankly, I couldn't really be bothered to give a single, sad fuck about that shitstain of a human other than to recognize that this is likely what's happening.

So that's my attempt at being nice to Donald Trump.

6/14/2017

Steve Scalise Supported the Lack of Laws and Regulations That Allowed His Shooting to Happen

A good-sized chunk of Representative Steve Scalise's congressional career has been devoted to making guns easier to get. Scalise, a Louisiana Republican who is the Majority Whip in the House of Representatives, was one of five victims shot by James T. Hodgkinson in Alexandria, Virginia. The wannabe mass murderer was carrying a semiautomatic rifle and a pistol. Hodgkinson was gunned down and killed by Capitol police, but he had apparently come to the baseball field to specifically take out Republicans. A motivation beyond a deranged vision of how to achieve progressive goals hasn't been announced.

Scalise is proudly, even obnoxiously devoted to the Second Amendment. He has an A+ rating from the NRA and a 100% pro-gun voting record, and he has, on many occasions, spoken against any laws that might even minimally effect the free acquisition of all kinds of guns, including the kind of rifle used today on him.

On April 25, 2013, Scalise made a floor speech where he used the Sandy Hook massacre of children to support the rights of gun owners. "I think they counted over 40 different laws that were broken by the Sandy Hook murderer," Scalise said. "Then somebody is going to tell you that one more law, which makes it harder for law-abiding citizens to get a gun, would have stopped him from doing that." The congressman doesn't mention that a law banning assault weapons would have actually slowed down Adam Lanza. And we're not even allowed to discuss banning handguns anymore, which would have done a great deal to stop the bloodshed.

Scalise co-sponsored a resolution that praised the Supreme Court for its Heller decision that eliminated limits on gun ownership in Washington, D.C. Prior to the decision, he had co-sponsored a bill that would have done the same thing, including repealing the ban on semiautomatic guns. And he co-wrote a 2015 letter to the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives condemning a reclassification of a kind of bullet. In the letter, he talks about the "the failed 'Assault Weapons Ban.'"

A more substantial action was that he voted to overturn President Obama's rule that prevented people who had been determined to be mentally ill from purchasing guns. I'd also bet that Scalise supports laws that allow people arrested for domestic violence to retain their guns. Hodgkinson had been charged several times for that kind of assault.

Look, this isn't a "blame the victim" type of thing. There is nothing that Steve Scalise did today that brought on the shooting. And I hope he and all the other victims recover fully.  But if a pig is gonna build a house out of straw, he shouldn't be too shocked when a wolf comes along to blow it down. It'd be something like a miracle if this caused Scalise to reconsider his blind devotion to the NRA and its perverse version of the Second Amendment.

More likely, though, it will just make him and his firearms-mad colleagues double-down and demand even more guns and fewer restrictions. And they will blame Kathy Griffin, Shakespeare in the Park, Black Lives Matter, angry liberals, and anyone and anything for this rather than take a single second to look in the hospital mirror to ask what they could do differently.

Like maybe stop talking romantically about using guns to solve problems.

6/12/2017

I Saw Shakespeare in the Park's Julius Caesar, and You're Wrong to Complain

When I saw the Public Theatre's production of Julius Caesar at its Shakespeare in the Park last Saturday, complete with its modern dress and setting, I watched as Caesar, played as Donald Trump by actor Gregg Henry, was pretty viciously assassinated. Any high schooler can tell you that it's the coolest part of the play, and, indeed, the rest of it is pretty anticlimactic after Mark Antony's eulogy. I remember thinking as Trump was stabbed to death, "Oh, someone's gonna have a problem with this." The next day, I tweeted, "Can't wait for the fake outrage."

I was actually shocked that the outrage machine, finished, as it was, with Kathy Griffin, hadn't already picked up on the idea of a bunch of liberal New Yorkers watching America-hating actors murder the president every night. I can report that the night I saw it, no one walked out. And, even though the audience had laughed at the crude and grotesque Trump/Caesar, no one cheered when he was killed. In fact, by the time Fox "news" and Breitbart and the usual gaggle of right-wing clickturbaiters finally got wind of it this past weekend, the production had been running for three weeks, with just one more week to go. If they had shut the hell up, it would have passed by without making a ripple. Now they've made it a cause.

Bugfuck they were gonna go and bugfuck they went. Fox and Friends, the president's TV dumbass pals of choice, said that it "appears to depict President Trump being brutally stabbed to death by women and minorities." Well, putting aside that Brutus (you know, the "unkindest cut" dude?) is played by white male actor Corey Stoll, sure, there are women and non-whites jacking Trump/Caesar. And the whining by outraged illiterates and their enablers caused both Delta Airlines and Bank of America to pull their support for Shakespeare in the Park, a 50-year tradition in New York's Central Park. The National Endowment for the Arts felt compelled to rush out a statement that it didn't give any taxpayer money for the production.

Let's put aside for a moment the fact that anyone who knows a goddamn thing about the actual play, you know, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, is aware that it's a cautionary tale about letting animal instincts take over. If anything, the message of the play is "Chill the fuck out a little or you'll really unleash hell." And put aside that sponsors had no problem with productions of Julius Caesar where Barack Obama-as-Caesar was assassinated, not to mention that, strangely, conservatives were quiet then.

But forget all that for a second.

We have a president who had a cabinet meeting today where he not only bragged about the "record-setting pace" he's gotten shit done (which likely means, "Talked about doing something"), but then forced the various secretaries of various agencies to perform a circle jerk of praise for him. In other words, the government is now in the official business of worshipping its leader. That's fucked up right there. And I could very easily list dozens of offensive, cruel, violent, and shitty things Trump has said about other people.

Yet any time someone denigrates Trump or is perceived to be denigrating Trump, the nutzoid right-wing attack machine goes to work to tear them limb from limb. Frankly, Reza Aslan shouldn't have apologized for calling Trump "a piece of shit," except to say, "Sorry, I meant, 'a pile of shit.'" Kathy Griffin shouldn't have apologized. She should have taken another picture where she's skullfucking the eyehole of the bloody Trump head with a long, black strap-on. Enough with acting as if there isn't a long tradition of savagely mocking and insulting the president of the United States. And, shit, this time the bitching conservatives are not even right about what they're complaining about.

At PJ Media, some fuckin' guy wrote about the Julius Caesar kerfuffle, "[I]t plays to the sensibilities of people who read The New York Times and The New Yorker and The Nation in a trite and already-clich├ęd fashion." We can argue that last point, but what's wrong with playing to our sensibilities? We get to have our sensibilities soothed, too. Why does everything have to get a thumbs-up from conservatives to be valid public art? Fuck you. Take down all the Confederate monuments, blow up Stone Mountain, and change the fucking state flag of Mississippi, and then let's talk about this kind of shit.

The thing that bothered me most about this production of Julius Caesar wasn't that Caesar was presented as Donald Trump, complete with a wife, Calpurnia, who spoke like Melania. What bugged me was that I didn't think it followed through on its own concept. Mark Antony should have been Pence, with Paul Ryan for Octavius. I mean, if you're gonna go for it, don't go half-assed. Go full-assed allegory.

The one thing that no one is talking about is that the resistance that is defeated by the forces of Mark Antony and Octavius Caesar is modeled on Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter and other recent protest movements. They are chanting "This is what democracy looks like" before they are gunned down by the police.

Shouldn't that be the part of the show that warms the hearts of the conservatives looking for things to fake outrage at to distract them from the real damage Trump is doing? And you'll notice that liberals aren't screaming in anger about it because that's the kind of shit that art does.

(And, by the way, the better choices for Trump are Macbeth, the guy who's good at one thing and becomes a paranoid, incompetent leader who only got the job through crime and betrayal, and King Lear. C'mon - mad king? Three kids -no one counts Tiffany- one who is his favorite?)