3/29/2017

Go Fuck Yourself With Your Opioid Abuse Commission, President Trump

Today, President Donald Trump, a man who could reasonably be called "addicted to his daughter," had a "listening session" on drug abuse, especially the plague of opioid addiction that is ravaging the nation, hitting the working class especially hard. And while you could say, "Hey, man, give the guy a pass on this one because he's actually talking about something that matters," I could answer, "Hey, straw person, fuck off. That son of a bitch couldn't give a single tweeting shit about people hooked on oxy and heroin."

First off, Trump did what he always does. Instead of simply acknowledging the problem and that people are working on it, he turned it into the Next Thing Donald Trump Lies About Everyone Not Knowing About When It's Really Just Him That Doesn't Know It. Early in his remarks, he said, "This is a total epidemic, and I think it's probably almost untalked about compared to the severity that we're witnessing." Then, because Trump always takes a claim and pumps it up like he's injecting Edex right into his little dick to get it hard. "It's really one of the biggest problems our country has, and nobody really wants to talk about it," Trump said later, adding, "Vice President Pence mentioned this coming into the room. He said, this is a problem like nobody understands."

Let's put aside the fact that an HIV crisis broke out in a county in Indiana because Pence didn't understand shit about heroin addiction when he was governor. And let's acknowledge that there is a great deal more that needs to be done about the problem across the country. But as far as "nobody" talking about it? Motherfucker, it's being talked about everywhere. Maine, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Alaska, fucking everywhere.

But it takes some dickish delusion to ignore one giant goddamn flaming hypocrisy here. If Trumpcare had been passed, it would have wrecked funding and coverage for people suffering from opioid addiction. Yeah, in order to massage the throbbing balls of the cruel Freedom Caucus, the plan was to drop the mandate for addiction services in Medicaid. You got that? Poor people would be subject to the whims of their state on whether or not they could get treatment. And it would have taken addiction treatment out of the essential health benefits that all marketplace insurers and even Medicare are currently required to cover.

Donald Trump was supporting a bill that would have taken a crisis situation and tossed a fuckin' grenade into it. So, yeah, he can shove his listening session and his Drug Addiction Commission that he's proposing right up his own voluminous ass. The only way it will do any good is if he fully funds and supports the Affordable Care Act, you know, the law of the land.

One last thing here: Trump seemed to take a twisted pleasure in hearing the gory details of the misery people suffered while addicted or in treatment, like he's getting off to it. Here's an actual exchange that occurred between Trump and A.J. Solomon, a former addict:

MR. SOLOMON: And they put me in the center, and I detoxed cold turkey. And --

THE PRESIDENT: And what was that like?

MR. SOLOMON: It’s like 20 times worse than the flu, but the anxiety is the worst part, the suicidal ideations crawling out of your skin. I mean, if I had drugs in front of me, I would have done them.

THE PRESIDENT: So he was right?

MR. SOLOMON: Oh, yeah. Yeah, he was right.

THE PRESIDENT: But you got through it? How long did that take?

MR. SOLOMON: Two weeks.

THE PRESIDENT: It was two weeks of -- they used to call it cold turkey, right?

MR. SOLOMON: Cold turkey.

THE PRESIDENT: Do they still do that?

MR. SOLOMON: Yeah.

THE PRESIDENT: No way. So you went through two weeks of that, and that was hell?

Jesus Christ, a few more months of this disgusting presidency and we're all gonna need to shoot up just to make it through a news cycle.

3/27/2017

The Mistreatment of Undocumented Immigrants Is Gonna Bite Us on Our American Asses

In the wake of the deranged crackdown on undocumented immigrants that has marked the snowballing viciousness of the Trump administration, we already know that Latino victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse have started to avoid the police and not report the violence against them. In Los Angeles, for instance, "sexual assault reporting has declined by 25 percent among the city’s Latinos, and domestic violence reporting by 10 percent since the start of the year, compared to the same period in 2016." No other ethnic group had a decline. And that drop ain't because only "bad hombres" are being deported.

Now, Jeff Sessions, a tiny, racist vole who happens to be Attorney General, announced that the Department of Justice is going to deny grant funds to cities and states that have "sanctuary" policies. This includes things like community policing funding that cities need. In other words, if you're not gonna be a total dick to undocumented immigrants, Donald Trump wants you punished.

The Trump administration wants you to believe that they are doing this to prevent crime, and, goddamn, they are gonna flog the same horrors over and over. Once again, an official dragged out the corpse of Kate Steinle, the San Francisco woman who was killed by an undocumented man (in what was likely an accidental shooting), and Sessions, like Trump before him, just fucked the shit out her body, saying, "Yeah, you see this? You want us to fuck more corpses? Because we're shit-eating crazy motherfuckers about the illegals! Stop us before we make you watch us fuck again!" Steinle's death is a tragedy, no doubt, but the way Trump and the Trumpazoids talk about it, it's the single most important event in American history since, oh, hell, let's say Benghazi.

What's more likely than murder by an undocumented immigrant is violence being done to an undocumented immigrant. And if we don't protect immigrants who give information to law enforcement, whether to help themselves or others, sometime, in the near future, here's what's gonna happen, if it hasn't happened already:

-- A family whose breadwinner was deported will end up reliant on public assistance to get by, thus going from taxpayers to people needing help from the government.

-- An immigrant will witness a murder or another crime and, instead of reporting it and risk being deported, will stay silent because they are the breadwinner in their family.

-- An undocumented immigrant will hear of a terrorist plot and refuse to say something because, well, you get it.

As with most of Trump's policies, the approach to undocumented immigrants is irrational, short-sighted, blindingly ignorant, and symbolic rather than grounded in, you know, reality. It will do far, far more harm than good. It targets almost only non-whites, so it's racist as hell. And it's gonna bite all of us in the ass. Or the wallet.

One way or another, we're gonna pay for the cruelty that we do in the name of fake security.

3/24/2017

The Fuck Was That Trump Interview in Time?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3/22/2017

Judge Neil Gorsuch Is a Dick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3/20/2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3/17/2017

The More Mundane Savagery of Donald Trump's Budget

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3/15/2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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