Friday
Sep212018

And Then What Happens?

Among the stranger tendencies of progressives are the urge to instill a purity test on their political leaders, and a failure to identify final goals.

For the former, witness the internecine bloodletting that occurred between Hilary supporters and Bernie supporters in the last election. Plenty of progressives vowed never to vote for Clinton because she was, you know, the same as Trump.

I’m pretty sure nobody thinks that anymore.

In contrast, conservatives had no problem biting their tongues and voting for a loathsome maniac who insulted their principles, their preferred candidates, and sometimes, even them personally. They were focused on winning.

Now I’m not saying that Democrats should go to the extreme boot-licking, semi-treasonous lengths that Republicans have. But I am saying that holding a grudge because the presidential candidate isn’t as liberal as you would like is selfish and short-sighted.

Which brings us to the second progressive flaw: the failure to identify final goals.

Again, many conservatives voted for Trump because they knew he would have at least one Supreme Court pick, and probably more. The GOP had its eyes on the prize. And now we have a misogynistic corporate toady and probable attempted rapist headed for a lifetime appointment. 

Yet, liberals are insisting that they can stop the Kavanaugh nomination. They can’t, of course, and even if they can, what happens next?

Does anyone seriously think that Trump will say, “Oh my, that choice offended them. I better pick a nice moderate who respects Roe v. Wade”? No, the guy is going to double down and pick someone just as loathsome and possibly even more reactionary (all part of an effort to stick it to the libs) and continue hammering away until that ninth justice is seated.

Progressives just can’t see the finish line.

Instead, we have focused on stopping Kavanaugh as a final result that, if successful, will result in champagne all around and free puppies for the masses. 

The same mindset infects people who think impeaching Trump is the end of the story. Make no mistake — the president should have been impeached long ago and hopefully will be soon. But it’s distressing to note how many liberals think that impeachment means that we will be rid of Trump.

Way too many people are unaware that impeachment is only the first step of the process. Once the House presents the articles of impeachment, the Senate has to find the president guilty and vote to remove him from office. 

That tiny technicality requires two-thirds of the senators to convict him. This means 67 senatorshave to vote “yes.”

To reach this threshold, Democrats would have to win 18 Senate seats in the mid-terms (they are currently projected to win, maybe, one seat).

Or another way to reach that milestone is if over one-third of Republican Senators agree that removing Trump is in the best interest of the country. Keep in mind that this is the same party that has supported Trump all the way and has been hesitant to even criticize him when he praised Nazis. The Mueller report would have to be one hell of a document to convince almost 20 Senators to yank the president from the White House — an act that, by the way, has never occurred in American history.

So why the hell are many progressives obsessing over impeachment like it’s going to rid of us of this menace? More likely, if Trump is impeached, he will come out of it even angrier and crazier.

Again, where is the end game in that? 

Oh, in the highly unlikely event that Trump doesn’t finish his term, we all get President Pence.

So there’s that.

At some point, progressives are going to have to accept the fact that Trump is most likely going to be around until 2020, and the best we can do unit then is to limit his insanity and shame the GOP enough so that it never — and I mean, never — wins another presidency.

That would at least be a realistic goal.

 

Wednesday
Sep122018

Just a Small Band of Rabble-rousers

Now that we’ve gone almost a full week without any bizarre allegations or devastating accusations erupting from the White House, we can turn our attention to other illuminating facts about life in Trump’s America.

For example, here’s a fun fact: Did you now that around 11 million white Americans are basically Nazis?

Hmm, I guess that is less a “fun fact” and more of a “holy shit, what the hell is going on” kind of statistic.

But it is, unfortunately, true. A recent study implies that “whether or not they would describe themselves as alt-right,” about 6 percent of white Americans “share the movement’s belief in a politics that promotes white interests above those of other racial groups.”

What this means, statistically, is that if you gather together 100 white Americans, about a half-dozen of them will say, “You know, Hitler had some good ideas.”

Now, for some time now, we’ve been hearing that alt-right goons are a tiny fringe group making a lot of noise. Certainly, there’s mo more than a few thousand zealots out there — right?

Well, no.

Because this study shows that white supremacist ideas “are more popular than it might seem. Large numbers of people think the way that they do, and shape their political identity around a sense of white grievance and identity.”

In case you think the researchers are inflating their numbers, keep in mind that the study took pains to exclude plain old racists and borderline bigots from the final analysis. The study honed in on those who are at the top of the hate pyramid, people who supported the tiki-wielding assholes in Charlottesville last year, even if they never said it out loud.

As the researchers pointed out, such individuals “may not march around the streets yelling, ‘Jews will not replace us!’ but they are extremely receptive to a politics that positions whites as victims and a growing minority population as an existential threat.”

By the way, that figure of 11 million Americans is roughly equivalent to the populations of New York City (8.5 million) and Chicago (2.7 million) combined. It also means there are enough neo-Nazis in this country to fill the entire state of Georgia (the eighth largest state).

And in a truly ironic twist, there are potentially more alt-right supporters in this nation than undocumented immigrants.

Again, the study focused on hardcore white supremacy. So the percentage of white Americans who are at least a little racist is even bigger.

For example, you might be amused to know that almost 40 percent of white Republicans have personally used the n-word in the past five years. Again, that’s not “have you ever used the n-word in your life?” That’s just within the past five years. 

But don't worry, just 27 percento f white Republicans think using the n-word is acceptable… wait, shouldn’t that be 0 percent?

In any case, these findings fit “with a larger body of work finding a sea change” in the Democratic Party’s attitudes toward race “without any corresponding movement on the Republican side. 

Basically, a lot of white Americans — Republicans in particular — truly think there are good people on both sides.

 

Thursday
Sep062018

The Options on the Table

Now that Bob Woodward’s career has come full circle — from uncovering the corruption of a bigoted Republican president (Nixon) to uncovering the incompetence of a bigoted Republican president (Trump) — we can focus on where we go from here.

Yes, it’s long been perfectly obvious to every liberal, most moderates, and many conservatives that Trump is a reckless, addled moron who never should be trusted with a houseplant, much less the nation’s nuclear launch codes.

We have books from disgraced reality television stars, smarmy journalists, and Pulitzer Prize winners that all basically say that the United States of America has elected a blithering idiot and hate-filled lunatic as president.

And it is not the looney left that is screeching that Trump is a danger to America. It is the people who are closest to him — who work with him every day — who are verifying his doddering incapacity, chronic dishonesty, and complete inability to handle the job. It is only his most fervent supporters — people who live in a bubble of paranoia and have no idea how the government or the Constitution work — who still think everything is just fine.

The rest of us are trying to figure out who the mysterious New York Times editorialist is, and why he/she thought this article would make us feel better (it sure the hell doesn’t), and why admitting to pulling a presidential coup de têtemakes him/her an “unsung hero.”

By the way, it’s darkly ironic and vaguely hysterical that Trump is correct that a “deep state” is indeed out to thwart his agenda. But it’s not a nest of bureaucrats and sinister liberals. It’s his own people, the ones he appointed. Yes, he created his own deep state and brought it with him to Washington.

And now the calls are coming from inside the house. 

In any case, here is what the Times editorialist should be doing, instead of trying to reassure us that “there are adults in the room” (a pathetically low standard when we’re talking about the Oval Office).

He/she should be going on the record, offering proof of his/her most shocking claims, and resigning from this administration, thereby putting the pressure on the rest of Trump’s enablers to follow suit and for Congress to perform its constitutional duty.

Let’s be blunt. If half of the claims in the Times and Woodward’s book are true, the recourses are impeachment or the 25thAmendment. Removal is the only way out of this mess.

Anything less is a half-ass half-measure that is analogous to letting a crazy man run through your house naked, trashing your possessions, on the condition that he is “contained” to the living room.

As for Trump’s fans, well, they have options as well.

Unless they finally, belatedly withdraw their support, the best that can be said of them is that they are in deep, crippling denial, to the point of delusion.

The other three options are as follows:

 

They are racists

They are idiots

They are cowards 

 

The latter category is primarily congressional Republicans. 

The other two categories speak for themselves.

 

Wednesday
Aug292018

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?

 

Wednesday
Aug222018

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.