Out of Your Mouth

It is, perhaps, the most pathetic attempt in a long line of pathetic attempts to distract from the president’s colossal failures and massive corruption.

I’m talking about the right wing’s frenzied, frantic endeavor to get you to focus on the tragic death of Mollie Tibbetts, a young white woman who was allegedly murdered by — and I bet this is the first you're hearing about it — an undocumented Latino.

The grotesque individual who killed Tibbettssupplied the perfect imagery for the Republican Party, which wantsvoters to believe they’re living in a horror movie” as part of their plan for avoiding disaster in the midterm elections. You see, “it is no accident that a president whose supporters are overwhelmingly white and less educated, who tend to live among other whites, are being targeted” and motivated to vote Republican based “on fears of the other and the unknown.” 

I mean, what else are they going to run on? An unpopular president in legal jeopardy, a tax cut for billionaires, and a total lack of progress on health care, the opioid crisis, and the fabled wall with Mexico are not very compelling highlights.

So instead we have GOP leaders publicly admitting that they want to make Tibbetts’ murder a midterms issue. 

And yes, this is the very same political party that insists any talk about gun control after a mass shooting is “politicizing” tragedy (by the way, there was another mass shooting just this week).

However, the opportunistic xenophobia of conservatives has disgusted Tibbetts’ family, which has called out the racist fear-mongering and callus exploitation of their agony. It hasprompted at least one family member to tell right-wingers to “keep her name out of your mouth.”

But of course, Trump and his enablers are not going to allow little things like overt racism, blatant hypocrisy, and a devastated family’s loss get in the way of their political playbook. They fully intend to keep insisting that undocumented immigrants are killing their way across America. 

Oddly, conservatives can write whole impassioned editorials about the Tibbetts murder without once mentioning, even in passing, the well-established fact that immigrants — including undocumented ones — are substantially less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans.

Also lost in the conservative outrage over Tibbetts’ death is the fact that the woman died because a man decided he had the right to take her — and take her life — without a moment’s hesitation. Acknowledging misogyny’s killer strain is not big with the Republican Party, which tends to appeal to men and female apologists for sexism

However, “the truth is that any young woman like Mollie Tibbetts has a much greater chance of dying at the hands of a husband or boyfriend of any type than meeting harm at the hands of an undocumented immigrant.”

If you don’t believe me, just look at the week’s other big story about homicide. Apparently, some monstrosity in Colorado murdered his wife and two daughters — or triple the women that Tibbetts’ killer has confessed to.

But hey, at least that guy was a citizen, so I guess it’s no big deal, right?



How to Botch a Presidency

To be fair, who could have possibly known that a corrupt, venal, ruthless, cutthroat businessman would turn out to be a corrupt, vicious, conniving, disastrous president? I mean, what are the odds?

Certainly we can’t blame the white working class, who are still merrily chanting, “Lock her up” even as their mighty hero faces the most overwhelming legal trouble for a president since Nixon in the throes of Watergate. 

And the Republican Party leadership could not possibly have foreseen that a man whose views were antithetical to their supposed values would break laws left and right in an amoral drive for power over principle, leaving them mute and impotent with their moral cowardice on display for all the world to see. Talk about a whoopsie.

Cleary, the question at this point is not, “Are there grounds to impeach Trump?” 

The question is, “How do we choose which grounds to list in the articles of impeachment?”

Yes, it is odd that in this cavalcade of corruption, the silver lining for so many conservative media figures is that the word “Russia” has not been mentioned once.

But all this proves is that Trump has pulled so much horrible shit that we don’t even need to get into the Russia mess to verify that the man is a walking, talking personification of crime, unethical behavior, and grotesquery.

And believe me, we still have to get to the Russia mess at some point.

In any case, these are dark days for America’s favorite unindicted co-conspirator. If Democrats take the House in three months — likely but not a slam dunk — we can start betting on whether they will vote to impeach on the first day of the new Congress or sit back and let the orange menace sweat it out for a week or so.

Wow, it’s almost like an episode of some really bad reality television show — almost.



Rewind, Fast Forward, Pause

At this point, it would be more of a surprise if a tape existed of Trump not saying the N-word.

Yes, we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming.

After taking a few weeks off to address racial, cultural, and political issues that have nothing to do with the accursed occupant of the White House, we have now returned to the source of so much of our current calamity.

And just in time too — as revelations of the president’s bigotry and idiocy dribble and drab from certain disgruntled former staffers and/or reality television stars.

What is the result of these shocking allegations? Has the president apologized or resigned in disgrace or…

Ha, that’s all bullshit of course.

Trump has attacked, which is the only thing that he is actually good at. After admitting that he hired an unqualified, horrible person solely because she flattered him, he called his past-tense BFF a dog, then sent out his lackeys to defend the honor of the president. And those lackeys said, more or less, maybe there is a tape of the president spouting racial epitaphs. 

Hey, who even knows anymore?

In any case, we know that the person making these accusations is an unreliable sell-out, but oddly enough, that doesn't matter as much as it should in these cases. And that’s because the accusation is so positively, absolutely credible. 

I mean, raise your hand if you’re at least a little surprised that Trump hasn’t shouted, “Wetback!” at a Rose Garden ceremony by now — yes, I’m raising my hand.

About half of Americans believe that the president is a racist. And one presumes that a big chunk of the other half at least suspects as much, or is too embarrassed to admit it to pollsters. 

So let’s say that there is a tape out there with Trump uttering the vilest word in the English language. What would happen?

Well, keep in mind that “the fact that Trump still managed to get 63 million Americans to vote for him after the notorious Access Hollywood tape shows that his supporters are fully adept at setting aside offensive speech.” 

And as for Republican leaders, they “would say they disagree with the president’s rude remarks,” and they “might even issue what would appear to be a strongly-worded condemnation.” And then they would promptly and decisively “do absolutely … nothing.”

And what about the rest of America? Well, to be blunt,“if you think a racial slur is the only way to determine if the president is racist, you haven't been paying attention, and you don’t understand what racism is.”

So cue the tape. Ultimately, it won’t matter. Because we all know what kind of person the president is.

But what kind of country we are… well, that still remains to be seen.



Breakdown in the Boardroom

So I’ve managed to go a couple of weeks without commenting on how the president is mangling America into a twisted, charred homunculus of bigotry and hatred. 

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been distracted by my hometown’s embrace of a bigot, as well as my brush with death (when all I wanted to do was go grocery shopping).

In any case, completing this trilogy of non-Trump stories, we have the sad tale of  

Paramount Television President Amy Powell, who was recentlyfired “after allegedly making racially insensitive remarks in the workplace.”

Powell, who apparently “made statements about black women being angry for various reasons“ during a conference call, denies the accusations and is considering legal action.

Hey, I wasn’t there, so I don’t know what was said in this specific case.

What I do know is that Powell is the “latest exec to be fired over alleged racist remarks.”

Apparently,it is too much to ask of white corporate titans to make it through a meeting without denigrating ethnic minorities or, you know, casually dropping the n-word.

This recent trend of powerful white people getting canned over bigoted statements provokes two thoughts.

First, if this is so commonplace today, just imagine what executives said behind closed doors in previous decades, when prejudice was more overt, ethnic minorities were even less represented, and racist statements just flowed out sans social condemnation. 

Second, keep in mind that ethnic minorities — especially Latinos— are still incredibly underrepresented in film and television. Is it hard to imagine why, when top execs feel they have every right to slander non-white people in open meetings? And these are so-called Hollywood liberals too.

No, it will most likely be awhile before I get to pitch my idea for a Latino-themed television show (it’s a killer, trust me). And when I do, I have to hope that the powerbroker sitting behind his desk doesn't just sneer at me and make a dumb joke about Hispanics.

But he probably will.




One thing I don’t understand:

Why would anyone jump on Twitter and post a racial slur or homophobic tirade?

What is the upside? You rile up a dozen of your followers for 30 seconds?

Because the downside is that you look like a total fucking asshole to millions of people years from now, when your idiotic tweets are uncovered, and your career is threatened and your reputation is ruined. 

That is a really bad return on investment.

Recently, major league baseball has had to deal with the fallout of several of its players who have had their old bigoted tweets unearthed.

Among them is reliever Josh Hader, an All-Star who pitches for my hometown Milwaukee Brewers.

Hader, like his fellow misguided tweeters, has apologized profusely for his words and insisted that his hateful outbursts are not indicative of who he is today.

OK, sure. Let’s go ahead and give the guy the benefit of the doubt. He was a dick when he was a teenager, but now he’s older and wiser, and not a racist jerk. 

But this issue goes beyond a couple of pitchers who may or may not have issues with ethnic minorities.

You see, when Hader took the mound in Milwaukee for the first time after his apology, Brewers fans gave him a standing ovation.

I can’t be the only one who found that distasteful. I’d like to think that most of my fellow fans were just trying to be supportive of Hader’s quest for redemption.

But I also know my hometown. Milwaukee has long had problematic racial issues, even by the problematic standards of the USA.

I can’t help but think that some of those fans were cheering for Hader because he wasn’t “politically correct” or because they wanted to stick it to the libs or some bizarre motivation like that. And some of them, unfortunately, were cheering for Hader’s original tweets and wanted to indicate that he nothing to apologize for.

If that sounds paranoid or accusatory, let’s try a thought experiment.

Imagine that Lorenzo Cain, also a Milwaukee Brewer and also an All-Star, had old tweets surface in which he denigrated people of a different race. The catch (and I’m sure you saw it coming) is that Cain is African American, and let’s pretend that he slurred white people.

In such a scenario, it’s difficult to“imagine thousands of white fans rising to their feet and giving him a standing ovation, even after he apologizes and blames youthful indiscretion.”

It’s not just about my hometown, of course. You see,  “baseball has the oldest (average age of an MLB viewer in 2016: 57) and one of the whitest (83 percent in 2013) viewerships of any major American sport.”

It means that baseball — despite its prominence in Latino culture — has a fan base that is more likely to be both more socially conservative and more forgiving of white athletes who screw up.

And this means that young white fireballers who tweet vile things are more likely to get standing o’s, whether they are deserved or not.

By the way, I do indeed have a Twitter account. You can check it out here.

Go ahead and dig around. You won’t find any racist tweets.