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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Conservatives politicize the rape of a 14-year-old girl

A 14-year-old girl was raped last Thursday morning at Rockville High School in Maryland. From CBS News:

Montgomery County Police said Friday that it happened Thursday morning at Rockville High School. Police say the girl was walking in a hallway when she met the teens. Police say 17-year-old Jose Montano asked the girl to walk with them and to have sex, but she refused. Police say he asked her again, then forced her into a boy’s bathroom and into a stall, where he and 18-year-old Henry Sanchez raped her.

One of the suspects, Henry Sanchez, may be in the U.S. illegally, and that's where conservatives come in. Sheriff David Clarke called the two alleged rapists "subhuman," and Fox's article covering Clarke's appearance on Sean Hannity's program claims both rapists are undocumented, which is false. Sean Spicer told reporters during a press briefing:

I think part of the reason the president has made illegal immigration and crackdown such a big deal is because of tragedies like this. Immigration pays its toll on our people if it’s done — if it’s not done legally. And this is another example, and it’s why the president is so passionate about this.

What is truly fascinating about this is how conservatives suddenly care about a rape victim. In the past, between electing a man who bragged about sexually assaulting women, to the numerous male conservatives who have said some of the most offensive things possible about rape, conservatives have made it pretty clear they don't respect rape victims.

Here are some quotes, from conservatives, on rape:

Rape is kinda like the weather. If it’s inevitable, relax and enjoy it. (Texas oilman Clayton Williams)

If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that thing down. (Todd Akin)

Rape victims should make the best of a bad situation. (Rick Santorum)

Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen. (Richard Mourdock)

In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits, where a woman can get cleaned out. (Jodi Laubenberg)

If a woman has (the right to an abortion), why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t (in most cases) result in anyone’s death. (Lawrence Lockman)

Perhaps you recall George Will's column a few years ago, where he wrote:

Colleges and universities are being educated by Washington and are finding the experience excruciating. They are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (“micro-aggressions,” often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate.

A coveted status. Oh, and he uses scare quotes:

Now the Obama administration is riding to the rescue of “sexual assault” victims. It vows to excavate equities from the ambiguities of the hookup culture, this cocktail of hormones, alcohol and the faux sophistication of today’s prolonged adolescence of especially privileged young adults.

Rape is like the weather, it's God's will, it might not be legitimate rape, rape kits cause abortions, men should have the right to rape women, and rape victims attain a coveted status. That's what we're accustomed to from the right wing. This sudden concern for a rape victim's well being is confusing, unless, of course, conservatives are politicizing the rape of a 14-year-old girl.

When two young men who have Hispanic names, one of whom might be undocumented, rape a 14-year-old girl, conservatives care. But not about the girl. They care about using her trauma, the violence perpetrated upon her body, to further an agenda, and as red meat to their racist, xenophobic base.

Here's a news flash: Rapists rape. It doesn't matter what color their skin is, or where they were born, or how they vote. Rapists rape. And if conservatives really cared about rape, they would promise on a stack of bibles to keep funding the Violence Against Women Act. They would make sure every town, city, and neighborhood in the United States has at least one rape crisis center. They would spend money to test the hundreds of thousands of rape kits that sit on shelves. They would make sure that women can access safe, legal abortion. They would publicly state that men can be raped, and they would work with prisons to combat prison rape.

And I'm sure they will get to all that, right after they finish politicizing the rape of a 14-year-old girl.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Trump's new Medicaid chief wants recipients to pay premiums and get jobs

Tuesday evening, the new Medicaid chief, Seema Verma, sent a letter to the nation's governors. Verma's letter urges states require Medicaid recipients pay insurance premiums, pay portions of emergency room bills, and get jobs. From the Star Tribune:

Hours after she was sworn in, the Trump administration’s top official for Medicaid and her boss dispatched a letter to the nation’s governors, urging states to alter the insurance program for poor and disabled people by charging them insurance premiums, requiring them to pay part of emergency room bills and prodding them to get jobs.

The letter, sent Tuesday night by Seema Verma, the new administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, also derides the Medicaid expansion that 31 states and the District of Columbia adopted under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The expansion, which has extended Medicaid to 11 million people with incomes of up to about $16,000 for a single person or nearly $34,000 for a family of four, “was a clear departure from the core, historical mission of the program,” the letter said.

By giving states greater help with these new beneficiaries, it contends the ACA has “provided states with an incentive to deprioritize the most vulnerable populations.” The three-page letter does not mention that, for the first three years, the federal government paid the entire cost of covering the expansion group and still pays nearly all of that.

The message from Verma and Price signals an initial step toward redesigning the program along lines that conservatives have long favored and that the new Medicaid administrator brought to Indiana as a consultant and the chief architect of broad changes that state first adopted nearly a decade ago. Overall, their letter encourages states to innovate and attain more freedom from federal standards by seeking “waivers” from government rules on the program, which covers 68 million low-income people, including children, pregnant women, and those who are elderly or disabled, as well as adults who merely are poor.

In other words, the right wing seems hell-bent on destroying our nations' poor. Including the elderly, the disabled, children, and pregnant women. People who are already vulnerable, people who are already struggling to pay bills, eat, and simply survive from one day to the next. People who, in vast swatches, voted for Donald Trump.

Coal miners in Kentucky are already aware the man they voted for is going to hurt them. Last December, CNN went to Kentucky and spoke with Trump supporters about Trump's plan to decimate the ACA. They were scared, because the ACA covers black lung disease. CNN spoke with Neil Yonts, a Democrat who voted for Trump because Yonts heard Trump promise to bring coal jobs back. Yonts has black lung disease, and is now faced with the prospect of losing his access to health care, thanks to Donald Trump.

Vox also visited Kentucky in December, and spoke to Debbie Mills, whose husband has non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver. Prior to the ACA, Debbie and her husband did not have health insurance, but signed up for Obamacare two years ago. "We had the," Debbie tells the interviewers, "It's made it affordable."

Debbie voted for Donald Trump, even though one of the centerpieces of his campaign was the repeal of the ACA. Her reasoning? She told Vox:

I don't know. I guess I thought that, you know, he would not do this. That they would not do this, would not take the insurance away. Knowing that it's affecting so many people's lives. I mean, what are you to do then if you cannot...purchase, cannot pay for the insurance?

You know, what are we to do?

So I don't know. Maybe he's thinking about, you know, the little people that are not making the big money, like what they make in New York and Washington and all the places that, you know, this is not, you know, something-this is people's lives that's being affected.

People who rely on the government voted for Trump because they never thought in a million years he would do the awful things he promised to do. Since almost every speech was laden with exaggeration and hyperbole ("I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters."), it was impossible to know fact from ego. Especially if all your news comes from Fox and Breitbart, Drudge and Newsmax.

For eight years, right wing media called President Obama a socialist, branded the ACA as evil, mocked the poor, and spewed so much anti-American propaganda, by the time Trump came around, conservatives were ready to once again vote against their own best interests. And with gusto. They bought the hats, went to the rallies, punched a few black people, screamed at protesters, lauded neo-Nazis, embraced the racism, sexism, xenophobia, and hatred of everyone not a white straight Protestant, and they voted for Donald Trump.

And now, the poorest of Trump's supporters, the men and women and families who need Medicaid, are waking up to the facts. Trump hates them, and his administration hates them. Disabled, elderly, working poor, children, pregnant women-the Trump administration is an equal opportunity destroyer of lives.

Donald Trump's supporters fell for the con; they believed him when he said he would bring back jobs, that he would make American great again. And in that ideal America, black people can't vote, women stay home, we have lead in our gas and fins on our cars, and white people have all the power. Poor white people have been convinced their poverty is different than non-white folks' poverty. Trump played all his supporters for fools, using the oldest trick in the book: scapegoating. Immigrants are stealing your jobs, minorities are committing Medicaid fraud, Muslims are terrorists, blame everyone else for your problems, and vote Trump.

President Lyndon Johnson famously said "If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you." Trump gave his supporters someone to look down on, and they emptied their pockets. They cast their votes, and now, Trump's new Medicaid chief wants disabled senior citizens to get a job, pay an insurance premium, and pay for their own emergency room visits.

But as long as they can look down on brown-skinned people, maybe nothing else matters.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Could Trump's net worth cause problems for national security?

Image from CNN

Forbes came out with their annual list of obscenely rich people, just to remind the rest of us we're slackers and sort of pathetic. At number one, to no one's shock, is Bill "Nerds Rule, Suckers!" Gates. Our fearful leader, Donald Trump, isn't even in the top ten. Or the top twenty. Or top fifty. Or top one hundred. To find Trump's name, you have to scroll all the way down to number 544. Out of all the seriously wealthy people on the planet, Donald Trump is number 544.

Given how much of Trump's self-worth is tied up in his actual worth, this has to hit hard. According to Forbes, SCROTUS has lost over $200 million since the election. This might explain why the initiation fee for Mar-A-Lago doubled almost immediately after Trump was elected, and why he has not divested from any of his businesses: he "needs" the money.

He doesn't need the money-Trump is still worth a comfortable $3.5 billion-but this is Donald Trump. A man who thinks he's the best, the smartest, the winningest, the toughest, the blah blah blah. In his mind, he does need more money, which brings up a rather uncomfortable question: Could Trump's new lower net worth cause problems for our national security?

Let's look at this hypothetically. Donald Trump loves money. He lost a ton of money since the election. Donald Trump has an interesting relationship with Russia. Now, what if Trump is approached by a Russian government official, who tells Trump if he plays along, Russia will grant him trademarks, or patents, or in some way, make Trump money? And what if to receive that windfall, Donald Trump has to remove sanctions, or pull out of NATO, two things he's already indicated he would be amenable to?

We have a president who is addicted to money, to status, and to power. Not to this country, or our citizens. We have a president who lies on a regular basis. We have a president who stated during the campaign that he would not accept a paycheck if he was elected, and he's accepted two so far. We have a president who promised not to cut Medicare or Medicaid, and that is precisely what he's doing. We have a president who bragged about how little vacation time he would take, and he's been golfing almost every weekend since he was elected. We have a president who called his predecessor a "bad man," for wiretapping that never happened.

Donald Trump, sadly, is president. But first and foremost, he's a rich guy consumed with staying a rich guy, no matter what. To what ends would Trump go in order to keep, or increase, his personal wealth? Is it possible that he might be vulnerable to some sort of, to put it mildly, political manipulation by a non-allied foreign government?

Again, this is all hypothetical. Given the kind of man Donald Trump is, however, and how much he values his fortune, there's a chance, slim though it might be, he could be persuaded to do some very bad things in order to pad his wallet.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The far left sounds just like Donald Trump

Early this morning, Donald Trump began tweeting. Obviously in a delightful mood, SCROTUS complained about "fake news CNN" and their polls, the DNC, demanded Congress find the "leaker" (not going to touch that with a ten-foot golden shower pole), and of course, the arch-nemesis of both the far right and the far left, Hillary Clinton.

Yes, "the Democrats made up" the Russian hackers. Guccifer 2.0 isn't real, even though Trump ally Roger Stone managed to chat with someone named Guccifer 2.0 on Twitter. One of the two Russians charged by the U.S with hacking into a half-billion Yahoo email accounts certainly never worked for a Russian billionaire's bank. And of course, the intelligence community is just wasting time and money investigating how Russia may have influenced the presidential election last year, because it's all fake news, and the FBI and CIA often spend months looking at things that don't exist. Well, maybe the CIA, but not the FBI.

And the far left agrees with Trump, so much so, they sound just like him. Feast thine eyes upon this:

This charming meme comes to us courtesy of Jon. Now I don't know Jon, but he, along with a woman we'll get to know in a bit, were brought to my attention over the weekend. Jon is really far left. Lee Camp fan club kind of far left; in fact, Jon has Lee Camp videos on his social media feed. Jon also loves hashtags, specifically #FeelTheBern and #BernieSanders. One of Jon's statuses simply reads "Fuck Israel." According to another meme Jon posted, Chelsea Clinton said marijuana kills people, when the truth is just a wee bit more nuanced (she didn't say marijuana kills people).

And this brings us to N., the other far leftie to whom I was introduced. N. really likes the website Newslogue, and an author named Caitlin Johnstone. N.'s social media feed is littered with Johnstone's articles from Newslogue. Newslogue, by the way, is an Australian website:

Newslogue is Australia’s first online publishing platform that matches audiences to writing they love. Our digital environment provides you with stories from your favourite writers direct to your front page, because a newspaper isn’t a platform, and social media isn’t news.   

Caitlin hates Democrats, and so does her #1 fan, N. N. posts all of Caitlin's articles, along with anti-Hillary memes, Ring of Fire videos, articles from The Intercept, and the hashtag #BernieWouldveWon. N. also believes the Russian hackers don't exist, and it's all a big lie to distract us from how the Democratic party is evil. Or Hillary is evil. Someone's evil, and maybe it's Trump, but it's definitely Hillary.

These are the Sarandonites. Predominantly white folks who won't really be affected by anything Trump is doing. Oh they might be struggling financially, but just like poor people who voted for Trump, their struggle would have been worse under "Shillary," except no it wouldn't, but for the far right and the far left, facts have left the building. Yes, isn't it awful that SCROTUS might cut the EPA, but let it burn!, and isn't it awful about that healthcare bill, but Obama was black, and isn't it awful that I voted for Trump and he might take away my Meals on Wheels, and isn't it awful that I wrote in Jill Stein/Bernie Sanders and my Muslim/black/gay/Mexican/Sikh neighbor's moving because Nazis vandalized his house and threatened his kids.

It's very nice that so many on both the far left and far right have finally come together to support Trump. Now, Jon and N. do post anti-Trump memes, but what are the odds that last November, either of them actually voted against Trump? It stands to reason their seething hatred of Hillary Clinton might have contributed to what Jon and N. decided to do on November 8, 2016. And it probably wasn't voting for Hillary. My guess is it involved the words "Bernie Sanders" or "Jill Stein."

The far left sounds like Trump, especially when it comes to Russia. Ed Schultz now works for Russia Today. People like Jon and N. believe the same thing Trump believes: The Democratic party invented the entire Russian hacking story to distract from Hillary's emails. Or Donna Brazille. Or how CNN is fake news, but TruthFeed and Alternative Media Syndicate and Counter Current News are not.

Just like Trump, the far right and the far left need bias confirmation, and if that means living in a bubble, so be it. If it means any source of information that challenges your fragile belief system is bad or a lie, hey, that's how it goes. And if the far right, the far left, and Trump agree on one thing it's how evil, destructive, and awful Democrats are, even liberal Democrats.

Heck, if we had President Hillary right now, you can bet we'd build that wall, keep that Muslim ban, cut funding for the EPA, the NEA, VAWA, and Meals on Wheels, increase our defense spending so we can nuke the Middle East, and President Hillary would most definitely be up at 5 AM, tweeting about how North Korea is "behaving very badly."

Except that wouldn't be happening. At all. "But Shillary was all Goldman Sachs!" Trump has hired a ton of men from Goldman Sachs. "But her emails!" Trump held an emergency security briefing on North Korea over the salad course at his country club. "But Benghazi!" Yemen.

Congratulations to the far right and the far left. You may want it for different reasons, but last November, you got precisely what you craved: a revolution. And while poor people lose their health insurance, and Muslims are booted out of the country, and women lose health care, and the transgender community is made more vulnerable, and Mexicans and Hispanics are deported, and a retired police chief is detained in an airport for no reason other than his name, you can sit back and smile, because you voted your "conscience."

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Second Muslim ban blocked, Trump considers eliminating Meals on Wheels

Thanks in part to CNN and Fox Spews News, Donald Trump's second Muslim ban-second verse same as the first-was blocked by a federal judge in Hawaii. Which, for the birthers in the audience, is not Kenya. According to US District Court Judge Derrick Watson, two of the events that influenced his decision to block Muslim Ban the Sequel were interviews given by none other than Donald Trump on CNN, and Stephen Miller on Fox. Oops?

From CNN:

In the ruling, Watson brought up specific statements made by the President and Stephen Miller, one of his top policy advisors and a reported architect of the original order, in cable news interviews.

Trump made plain his opposition to Islam in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper last year, asserting "I think Islam hates us."

Cooper asked then-candidate Trump in the interview to clarify if he meant Islam as a whole or just "radical Islam," to which Trump replied "It's very hard to separate. Because you don't know who's who."

The judge cited this interview as an example of the "religious animus" behind the executive order and quoted Trump telling Cooper "We can't allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States."

Wait, there's more!

Likewise, the decision cited an interview Miller had on Fox News following the legal struggles of the first executive order last month, which the legal opponents of the ban have emphasized repeatedly.

In a February interview, Miller downplayed any major differences the new executive order would have from the first and said it would be "responsive to the judicial ruling" holding it up and have "mostly minor technical differences."

"Fundamentally, you're still going to have the same basic policy outcome for the country," Miller added.

Judge Watson wrote those two statements "betray the Executive Order's stated secular purpose."

In what can only be called retaliation for Muslims being able to come to the United States, Trump is mulling over some budget cuts, specifically programs that help poor people. Proposed cuts include drastic reductions to the State Department Food for Peace Program, which sends food to poor countries who have suffered a major disaster, and a program that subsidizes flights to rural airports.

Oh, and Meals on Wheels. A program that helps over 2 million seniors in this country who live at or below the poverty line. Seniors who may spend most of their time alone, feeling isolated, and look forward to their Meals on Wheels volunteers stopping by with a hot meal and some conversation. Meals on Wheels volunteers also perform safety checks during their visits. But Donald Trump doesn't care about seniors, or rural America; he wants to cut or eliminate social programs in order to increase our defense spending. Which is exactly what Jesus would do.

Because in Trump World, the only thing we have to fear is everyone who looks different, or prays to a different deity, or speaks a different language. Starving senior citizens, or folks who live in small towns and need access to air travel, or use Amtrak, or need HUD, don't matter to Trump one bit. He got their vote, now they're invisible.

That's really the worst part of all this. Trump's most ardent fans-poor Americans who believed all his lies-are going to suffer the most for their own ignorance and fear. Their jobs aren't coming back, because it's not immigrants who are taking them, it's automation. Trump is going to cut or eliminate programs poor people depend on to survive, including the ACA.

It's hard to find empathy for people who voted in favor of their own demise. Find it anyway. Go to the Meals on Wheels link above, and see about volunteering, or even donating a little (or a lot of) money. When Donald Trump begins clearcutting his way through our country's poor, politics will need to take a back seat to survival.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Hypocrisy, thy name is conservative: the First Lady Edition

Oh, conservatives. There are so many things completely cuckoo about your "party" right now. Your desperate need to take health care away from the poor, including yourselves, your sudden love of Russia, and oddly, your glaring, blaring, in-our-face, you don't even see you're doing it, hypocrisy.

Yes, you've been hypocrites for a really long time, that's obvious. Small government except when it comes to gay marriage and vaginas. Made In America, except for practically everything you buy. You love politicians who went to Harvard, except the black guy. But your hypocrisy at the moment is pretty startling, even for an old cynic like me.

A few days ago, Dan Savage, he of Google Santorum fame, said something negative about Melania Trump: she's as ugly on the inside as she is pretty on the outside. Savage defends his statement by correctly pointing out Mrs. Trump championed her husband's lies about President Obama's birth certificate. No, really, she did. On television:

On April 20, 2011, Melania appeared on the Joy Behar Show and backed up her husband's allegations that Obama wasn't born in the state of Hawaii like live birth records suggest.

"It’s not only Donald who wants to see [Obama's birth certificate], it’s American people who voted for him and who didn’t vote for him. They want to see that," she argued. Behar then made the point that the birth certificate had already been on display and all over the internet. "We feel it’s different than birth certificate."

Well now, that's sort of icky, isn't it? But does it deserve such a harsh commentary from Savage? Maybe, maybe not. The First Amendment assures Dan Savage he can say it, and the government can't arrest him, as much as Donald Trump may want to. The First Amendment also doesn't keep  conservatives from defending Melania Trump against negative comments. You know, just like they did with First Lady Michelle Obama. Except no, never happened, and here's some proof.

Remember Carl Paladino? The racist emails guy from New York? Who became Trump's NY co-chair during the campaign? Paladino said this about First Lady Michelle Obama in an interview:

 “Michelle Obama. I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortable in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.”

During the same interview, Paladino wish death on President Obama.

When Mrs. Obama teamed up with Subway in order to promote healthier eating, conservatives lost their minds. And as they are wont to do, they posted their breakdowns online. Here are a few:

omg!! do you ppl not know putting an anti American heifer like mooooooshell on your bizz like that is going to destroy your bizz..wooohhooo thats great you can let her destroy your company like her P>O>S freak husband is destroying our beloved country….i feel bad for all your employess who will be out of a job when you have to shut down for your shi### choice!!!

No more Subway food for me. I lose my appetite when I see Mooshell’s face.

I cannot believe what I’m reading! On another post I see Mooshells likeness looking over the counter! I’m very sorry but I’ve just lost my appetite! I’d rather eat pink meat at McDonalds! You have crossed the line!

Apparently, you weren’t paying attention to JC Penney when they decided to make a fruitcake their spokesman…I guess you will learn the hardway that Mooochelle is not that popular among people that work and pay for their own meals…Goodbye…I guess you wanted to take the lead in the food stamps business…

There is no way I will support a business that supports the leach in our white house.
Subway is going to need a lot of workers, prolly illegals, to clean up after their customers start puking from seeing Moochell’s picture.

She has four butts and is anti-God, anti-America and a socialist. Good bye.

Uber-wealthy conservative congressman Jim Sensenbrenner said Mrs. Obama had a "big butt" during appearances at his church. He apologized for those comments, because he got caught.

And of course, we can't forget Rush Limbaugh. Captain Corpulence frequently attacked the former First Lady for her appearance, including saying Mrs. Obama did not look like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. Do you recall any conservatives defending First Lady Michelle Obama against Paladino, or Sensenbrenner, or Limbaugh?

Of course now, it's different. Now we have a white First Lady. Now we all have to be super respectful, and give her a chance, and not care about the millions of taxpayer dollars being spent to keep her in New York. Now Dan Savage can't say Melania Trump is ugly on the inside because she spread her husband's racist propaganda, or because she told a bunch of terminally ill children to get more sunshine even as her husband cuts healthcare for kids just like them. Maybe she told them about the sunshine because this time next year, those kids won't be able to afford medical care.

Hypocrisy, thy name is conservative, and it has been for a very long time. It's clear to anyone who's been paying attention over the past eight years. You hated Michelle Obama because she was an African American woman with fabulous biceps, and you love Melania Trump because she's Caucasian and looks like a swimsuit model. But you won't admit it, you will never own up to your racism and sexism. You will never just tell the truth: you like your women subservient, sexualized, married to a guy who might be abusive, and marginalized.

And white.

Friday, March 10, 2017

We should all stop Russian to judgment

Image from the BBC

Alright, settle down snowflakes, we're going to have a chat about Donald Trump and Russia, Jeff Sessions and Russia, Michael Flynn and Russia and Turkey, Carter Page and Russia, Paul Manafort and Russia, and then I'm taking a little nap. Just like Sean Spicer.

The Cold War is over. Russia has an "elected" president, former KGB agent Vladimir Putin. Putin is deeply religious, fond of doing things while shirtless, jailing journalists and dissidents, and possibly having people killed. But he's BETTER THAN LENIN! Plus, do you live in Russia? No, you live in Ohio or Michigan or Oregon or Azerbaijan. So you don't know anything about Russia, except what you read in every single newspaper, on every single website. And what numerous intelligence agencies are stating. And watching videos of protesters getting beaten and arrested by state police. BUT HE'S BETTER THAN LENIN.

Yes, a lot of people Donald Trump knows seem to have relationships with Russians. Especially Trump. There's the house in Palm Beach Trump bought, then sold to a Russian oligarch for $40 million over purchase price, a house said oligarch never stepped foot in, and is now tearing down. Russian oligarch dude wanted a way to hide money from his then-estranged wife, and buying a house from Donald Trump seemed like the way to go.

Then there are the business interests Trump has in Russia that he swears he doesn't have. According to the New York Times, Donald Trump has been trying to make money in Russia since 1987:

Mr. Trump repeatedly sought business in Russia as far back as 1987, when he traveled there to explore building a hotel. He applied for his trademark in the country as early as 1996. And his children and associates have appeared in Moscow over and over in search of joint ventures, meeting with developers and government officials.

During a trip in 2006, Mr. Sater and two of Mr. Trump’s children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, stayed at the historic Hotel National Moscow opposite the Kremlin, connecting with potential partners over the course of several days.

As recently as 2013, Mr. Trump himself was in Moscow. He had sold Russian real estate developers the right to host his Miss Universe pageant that year, and he used the visit as a chance to discuss development deals, writing on Twitter at the time: “TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next.”

It does seem that Trump has a giant man crush on Vladimir Putin, but who doesn't? Heck, I knew a woman on Facebook who was madly in love with Putin, so much so, if you insulted him on anything, she'd call you names, and unfriend you. Lots of people are crazy about Putin. Not the people he's had jailed just for disagreeing with him, or writing something critical about his leadership, or the LGBTQ Russians he hates, or artists, or Pussy Riot, but Ed Schultz absolutely adores Putin. You remember Ed Schultz, don't you? Liberal darling, spokesperson for the middle class, pro-union, pro-living wage, pro-First Amendment? Well, now he works for RT, and attended CPAC this year. As a speaker.

Yes, Jeff Sessions met with the Russian ambassador, and then lied about it under oath. But he wasn't asked a question about his own interactions with the Russians; he volunteered that lie. Which led to Sen. Al Franken pretty much just calling Sessions a liar, which enraged Sen. Chuck Grassley, which made Sen. Franken double down.

Yes, Carter Page traveled to Russia, and it was just revealed that, contrary to Page's statements, he did get formal permission from the Trump campaign for that travel. Why does anyone care about Carter Page? According to Politico:

And while Page has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in connection with his Moscow visit, it is now drawing increased scrutiny as a result of new disclosures about his contact two weeks later with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Just days after Kislyak talked to Page, Gordon and a third campaign official, WikiLeaks disseminated thousands of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee’s servers — a hack that U.S. intelligence later attributed to the Russian government.

Yes, Paul Manafort had regular contact with a "Kiev-based operative" with suspected ties to Russian intelligence while Manafort was running Trump's campaign. The key word there is "suspected."

Yes, Michael Flynn is a hot mess of spy craft, except he's not very good at it. He just registered as a foreign agent this Tuesday, but he'd actually been one while he was an adviser on Donald Trump's campaign. In Turkey. Flynn also chatted with Russia about sanctions prior to the election. Both Flynn and Trump denied those conversations happened, until it became crystal clear those conversations had happened, then Mike Pence became sad because Flynn lied to him, and Trump fired Flynn for lying to Pence. Not for having chats with Russia that may have been, at the very least, potentially illegal, but for lying to the VP.

But it's not like Russia has an entire hacking group at their disposal, so when Trump tweets out something crazy like "Obama wire tapped me," or the intelligence community releases more information on Trump's love affair with Vladimir Putin, that group can suddenly dump thousands of documents pertaining to spying onto the internet, thus completely deflecting our attention. That's a ridiculous idea.

It's not as if any of this can be proven by our own intelligence agencies, and even when they do prove it, well, who believes those guys? Donald Trump has to be telling the truth, because if he's not, that would mean millions and millions of angry white people fell for the con of the millennium. It would mean he lied about all of it-jobs, American-made anything, the economy, the wall. It would mean this whole thing was about power, and making money. It would mean Donald Trump is not the blue collar hero his fans believe him to be.

Which might explain why Trump supporters are always so angry when you bump into them on the internet. They're slowly realizing the truth: Russia, the corruption, the money, the hotel in Baku (money laundering for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard OOPS), the Chinese trademarks, the whole thing was a con.

At least once a week, mainstream media will have an interview with some poor (literally) white Trump supporter who seems shocked that their candidate is doing what he said he would. Well, they mumble, I didn't think he was really gonna <insert awful thing that will bankrupt them here>, politicians say all sorts of stuff. Except the majority of Trumpers voted for him because they said he wasn't a politician. So now he is, and it's okay, but then he wasn't, and that was okay, too?

Denial, it would seem, is not just a river in Egypt, nor is it reserved for Trump's fervent fans. Denial is meandering through the White House like a toxic stream, and it's taking a lot of folks along for the ride. Denial about Russia, about jobs, about everything.

I wouldn't fret; if we get too close to the truth, Trump will tweet something insane at 4 AM, and WikiLeaks will dump a ton of crap online to make certain we don't pay attention to the important stuff. Because it's only through denial, misinformation, perjury, and treason, that we can truly Make America Great Again!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The CIA is a haven for spies!

In what is being hailed as shocking news, the Central Intelligence Agency has been exposed as a haven for spies. WikiLeaks, the hacker group run out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, released thousands of documents proving this extraordinary claim a few days ago, and people in the know are flabbergasted. People like Stan Shitgibbon.

Mr. Shitgibbon was interviewed by his local television station last night, although, sadly, the video has been removed and wiped from the internet. Alex Jones will most likely be online later today to address this obviously nefarious turn of events. But your intrepid satirist was able to watch the 12-minute-long interview between a blonde woman who mentioned she had recently submitted a resume to Fox, and Mr. Shitgibbon.

Stan Shitgibbon was chosen as the perfect interview subject for a few reasons: He had spent 2 weeks in basic training before being charged with an Article 15 and stalking, he watches a lot of Fox, he has a paid subscription to both Breitbart and InfoWars, and he collects World War II memorabilia, most of which belonged to the Nazis.

Mr. Shitgibbon had many thoughts, some of which dealt with the explosive news that the CIA is a haven for spies. His other thoughts included philosophical rants about fluoride, an attempt to convince the reporter to tour his survival shelter, a 2-minute rant about "Obummer" and guns, and a brief moment where Stan became so enraged at "libtard femiNazis," he was rendered apoplectic.

The reporter, whose name was possibly Monica, or Tiffy, or Muffin, asked Mr. Shitgibbon how he felt knowing our government had a spy agency. Stan responded:

Well, I dunno how okay I am with that. I mean, yeah, we definitely need to know what all the Muslims are up to, and yeah, we really need to know what the Black Lives Matter terrorists are up to, but I'm real uncomfortable that someone can spy on me through the TV. I do lots of, um, stuff up in here, and...hang on, are you recording this? Holy crap, you're a SPY! You're a Soros troll! You're one of them femiNazis, ain'tcha? GET OUT OF MY HOUSE GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!

At this point, Mr. Shitgibbon grabbed a Russian AK-47 from underneath his Lazy Boy, and began waving it around while singing "God Bless America." Candi and her cameraman fled the scene; sadly Tawny tripped while running down the dilapidated stairs outside Mr. Shitgibbon's home, and broke the heel of her Louboutin pump. She wisely left it behind.

Brave cameraman Dave, hiding behind Chrissy's BMW, managed to get a few more minutes of Stan Shitgibbon on tape. Mr. Shitgibbon also fell down the stairs in front of his house, and when he dropped the AK-47, which it turns out he had modified, the firearm sprayed hundreds of rounds of ammunition due east, slaughtering a herd of cattle.

As Tammi and Cameraman Dave sped out of the gravel driveway, you could hear Stan bellowing "No CIA, all KKK, all white USA!" as he ran over to find some choice pieces of meat.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Bachmann Diaries: Hooray! No more Obamacare!

Image from Rolling Stone

Dear Diary,

What a joyous day! Angels up in Heaven must be positively giddy, because the Republicans released our replacement for Obamacare yesterday, and it's wonderful! In a nutshell, and honestly, I don't really understand much of it-all that legalese-poor people will finally have to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and rich people like me will no longer have to pay for them to get plastic surgery and abortions.

Oh I know, Jesus told us to love the poor. And I do. From a distance. Poor people back in Jesus's time weren't lazy, or colored black, and they certainly didn't beg the government to pay for their I-Phones, cars, refrigerators, or health insurance. Back then, if you got sick, Jesus either healed you, or you died, which is the way it should be.

If poor people would just all become Christians, then God-fearing pastors like Franklin Graham, John Hagee, Joel Osteen, or that Benny Hana dude could heal them. Atheists would still die, but really, who cares about them? Oh, and Jews would have to convert, which would be wonderful. As my dear friend Ann Coulter once said, Jews are imperfect Christians. Plus, if Jews convert to Christianity, when the End Times come, they won't spend eternity writhing in a lake of fire. Win-win!

I think President Trump is doing a fantastic job. Banning Muslims, deporting Mexicans, creating more jobs, he's the best president since Ronald Reagan. Marcus and I had a lovely chat last night about all the jobs President Trump will create, especially now that TrumpCares (oh I love that; I should trademark it!) is in full swing. Lazy poor people will have to go get a job so they can afford health insurance. They can work on the Keystone Pipeline, or that other one, they can go work for Exxon, they can work at Walmart, or any department store that sells Ivanka Trump's clothing line.

Diary, the liberals lie about President Trump every day. Why, just this morning, President Trump sent out a Twit about how Obummer released over 100 prisoners from Gitmo, which is a fact. Liberals jumped all over him, telling him he's wrong, that Obummer only released 9, while George W. Bush released the rest. That's just not true, and I know it's not true, because if it was, Fox, Drudge, and Breitbart would tell me. Liberals and their fake news. What a joke.

They're just so angry because Shillary lost. Well, of course she did. Look at me, Diary, then look at her. My hair is shiny, glossy, and long, like a real woman, her hair is coarse, messy, and short, like a lesbian. Thanks to prayer and Botox, my face is as smooth as an Aryan baby's behind, while her face looks like it got run over by a Prius. I quit the race for president because I wanted to spend more time on the radio; if I had stayed in, I would have become president.

I can't wait for TrumpCares to become law! It's about time that the lazy poors were forced to get off the government teat and fend for themselves. Some of them might die, some of their kids might die, but that's called "natural selection." The strong survive while the weak perish. In America, the strong are rich, white, Christians, who are on their knees at least 5 times a day, praying to Holy God. In time, the undesirables will die off. What a comforting thought.

Well, our Tijuanan maid got deported last week, because Marcus didn't bribe somebody, so I'm interviewing new maids today. One woman named Millicent told Marcus she's bringing us a pie! She got the recipe from a book called "The Help." I love pie. I might just hire Miss Millie if the pie is yummy enough.

God bless President Trump, God bless white people, and God bless the United States of America.

Hugs and kisses-Michele

Monday, March 6, 2017

Dating a wildebeest is fine with conservative Christians, but NO MAN CRUSH!

Image of LeFou and Gaston from Indiewire

Disney's live action version of "Beauty and the Beast" is causing an uproar among conservative Christians, and not because Belle is dating a wildebeest. No, lady on beest is fine; it's the little man crush LeFou has on Gaston that's making their frightened hearts skip a beat.

A drive-in movie theater in Alabama issued a statement on why they sadly cannot show "Beauty and the Beast," and it's chock full of sanctimony and sorrow:

"If I can't sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it."

"We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches."

Seriously, if you're sitting at a drive-in, and suddenly, Jesus appears in the backseat, the movie you're watching is the least of your problems. As for not compromising on what the bible teaches, oh puhleeze. Like the new owners of Henagar Drive-In don't eat shrimp, or wear mixed fabrics.

Conservatives are very delicate creatures who, seemingly, enjoy the idea of a pretty girl getting her groove on with a wildebeest, but not the idea of a guy having a crush on another guy. There's no sex, because it's Disney for God's sake. "Live action" does not mean what conservatives think it means. Although, given how much internet porn red states view, it's really no surprise that many of them may think "Beauty and the Beast" is an adult film.

Enter Franklin Graham, hate preacher to the stars, and Joshua Feuerstein, he of the Starbucks boycott because JESUS. Frank supports the Alabama drive-in theater's decision, calling on his fans to thank Henagar's for their "character:"

I wish more businesses would have this kind of character to take a stand for what is right. Here’s what an Alabama drive-in theater said on their Facebook page about not showing Disney’s new Beauty and The Beast movie. God bless them. Let them know in the comments below that you support their decision.
Joshua Fireballs made a video entitled "DISNEY GOES GAY!" which begins with him yelling BOOM into the camera, followed by "You guys told me I was crazy, that I was over the top and delusional." See, because LeFou has this little crush on Gaston, and absolutely not because Belle is falling in love with a giant gnu, Joshua Fraudstein now believes his crazy delusions have been proven true. Disney, you see, has an "objective," an "agenda," and those would be turning little kids gay. Or, as Josh puts it, "influence our kids in the wrong direction."

Fright wing Christians seem to think if you walk into a movie theater a heterosexual, and watch a movie with gay characters, you will leave gay. And if you take your heterosexual kid to see "Beauty and the Beast," as soon as the film ends, little Scottie will turn to Mom and Dad and announce his gayness, his support for marriage equality, and that bathroom bills are hateful. All at age 6.

Lovely young woman dating wildebeest: peachy! Love it! He's so fuzzy! Pudgy French guy with a crush on macho French...OHHHHHH. Well, slap me in the face with a fish and call me Susie, now I get it. It's what Gaston represents that makes this all so uncomfortable and infuriating for conservative Christians. Gaston is a French version of the bizarre version of Donald Trump conservatives have created. Overly masculine, disrespectful of women, testosterone oozing from his pores (in Trump's case, that's the Propecia), and never, ever, ever gay. Just like Marcus Bachmann.

Between their limited ability to read and understand the bible, and their desperate fear of the GAYS, conservative Christians have themselves in a quite a lather over "Beauty and the Beast." They're not going to stand for this liberal agenda, the nefarious Disney plot, this...this...FRENCHNESS.

A Russian lawmaker is trying to get "Beauty and the Beast" banned in Russia. Way to go, U.S. conservative Christians; you're becoming as disgusting and unhinged as Russia! The lawmaker is citing a 2013 law that prohibits "gay propaganda" among minors. I don't even know what that means, but it's a law in Russia. And you know conservative Christians would love to enact something like that right here in River City, homo with a capital Hey, and that rhymes with GAY, and we need a ban!

Conservative Christians have so many companies to boycott, it's amazing they get anything else done. Don't they have jobs? Starbucks, Target, Nordstrom, Disney, Home Depot, Facebook, Google, Apple, Oreos, Doritos, ESPN, the NFL, and many more, are either being boycotted by conservative Christians, or have been targeted for boycotts. And in almost every case, the boycott was called because the company supported LGBTQ rights.

Go ahead, you twits, boycott Disney. Less crowds at the parks, more room at the movie theater, less chance of standing in line, or sitting, next to some ignorant homophobic ignoramus. It's a win-win.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Trump thinks President Obama tapped phones at Trump Tower

In the early hours of Saturday morning, Donald Trump began tweeting from Mar-A-Lago, where he is spending yet another weekend. The topic of conversation was Trump's belief that President Obama had tapped the phones in Trump Tower during the election. Trump has offered no proof of this, has zero evidence to support the bizarre claim, and most likely does not know a president cannot order a wiretap.

First, the tweets.

"I'll bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!" Well, gee, Donald, you're the fucking president, why not contact the FBI, the DOJ, and the AG? Why tweet at 5:30 AM about a "good lawyer?"

"Is it legal...?" No you idiot, it's not, and President Obama could not have ordered a wire tap on anyone, because that's not how any of this works. Here's a very long and informative PDF on wiretapping, but some of the highlights include:

Title III lists a limited number of specific predicate offenses which the government may investigate using wiretaps.  These include mail fraud, wire fraud, kidnapping, and money laundering.16  The Act has been amended over the years to include additional predicate offenses, including bank fraud and computer fraud.17


Title III places a high burden on prosecutors before a court will authorize a wiretap, making this investigation technique something of a last resort for prosecutors, who must first demonstrate “whether or not other investigative procedures have been tried and failed or why they reasonably appear to be unlikely to succeed if tried or to be too dangerous.”22  This is Title III’s so-called “necessity” requirement under 18 USCS § 2518(1)(i).  This showing requires a “full and complete statement” that wiretaps are necessary to further the government’s investigation.

Ben Rhodes, a former policy advisor to President Obama, responded to Trump on Twitter, writing "No President can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you."

It's important to note that Trump often gets his "intel" from dubious sources, like Breitbart, Gateway Pundit, and in this case, possibly Mark Levin. On Thursday, Levin accused President Obama of executing a "silent coup" against Trump, using "police state tactics." Friday, Breitbart wrote up one of their typically subtle and fact-based articles on Levin, and early Saturday morning, our Twit-In-Chief started tweeting about wiretaps.

It's clear to anyone with a pulse there is something very wrong with Donald Trump. Dr. Allen Frances, in his letter to the New York Times, cautioned us against diagnosing Trump with a mental illness and/or a personality disorder because, in part, Trump causes distress, but does not experience it:

Mr. Trump causes severe distress rather than experiencing it and has been richly rewarded, rather than punished, for his grandiosity, self-absorption and lack of empathy. It is a stigmatizing insult to the mentally ill (who are mostly well behaved and well meaning) to be lumped with Mr. Trump (who is neither).

Bad behavior is rarely a sign of mental illness, and the mentally ill behave badly only rarely. Psychiatric name-calling is a misguided way of countering Mr. Trump’s attack on democracy. He can, and should, be appropriately denounced for his ignorance, incompetence, impulsivity and pursuit of dictatorial powers.

But what about a president who believes his predecessor tapped his phones? Who puts that belief on the internet for tens of millions of people, all over the world, to see? Who relies on fake news for his intel? Who might use fake news to justify a military action, or God forbid, nuclear war?

We have a problem. While a lay person cannot diagnose Trump from the comfort of their sofa or chair, it is becoming more and more obvious there is something wrong with Donald Trump. A president can be impeached for mental incompetence, and frankly, we might be there. Trump is  frighteningly ignorant as to how the three branches of government work, he is addicted to power and corruption, and it is clear that Donald Trump may be clinically paranoid.

Donald Trump is dangerous, not just to this country, but to the world. He really believes-or at least he did 5 hours ago-that President Obama wiretapped the phones in Trump Tower. He really believes 3 million "illegals" voted for Hillary Clinton. He really believes people crossed into New Hampshire to vote. The world is out to get him, so he surrounds himself with yes-men and yes-women. He only gets news from outlets that adore him; everything else is fake.

Oh, and if a FISA court issued an order for surveillance, it means the court found reasonable evidence warranting such an order. Say, oh I don't know...Russia. And if Trump just released classified information over Twitter about a FISA order, he's in deep, deep shit. So behind door number one, we have a disturbingly paranoid president who believes fake news, and behind door number two, we have a president who just violated federal law on Twitter.

Either door is bad, either door is dangerous, and either door proves Donald Trump is unfit to be president.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Donald Trump's speech was lipstick on a pig

Image from

Donald Trump gave a speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, and it was breathtaking. Not in the way a perfect sunset is breathtaking; more in the way a train crash involving spent nuclear fuel rods five miles from Las Vegas would be. Most people would say "Oh my God, that train was carrying spent nuclear fuel rods! This is a disaster!" Others, specifically fans of train crashes involving spent nuclear fuel rods and the media, would say "Well, Las Vegas is fine, so yay!"

The speech was well-written (thank you, Other President Bannon), and had the effect it was designed to have: a softer, gentler, fluffier SCROTUS. Except no, he's not softer, gentler, or in any way fluffy. Trump is still a thin-skinned megalomaniac, hell-bent on deporting vast swaths of people, waging more war in the Middle East, cutting regulations to the point where we will go to Flint for clean drinking water, and lying through his perfectly veneered teeth. The whole speech was lipstick on a pig.

Trump's first military action in Yemen resulted in the death of a Navy SEAL, over twenty women and children, the loss of an extremely expensive aircraft, and, according to many sources, yielded no "actionable or vital" intel. What's a chickenhawk, war mongering president to do? Well, in Trump's case, he blamed everyone but himself. During an interview on Fox, Trump said:

This was something that was, you know, just — they wanted to do. And they came to see me and they explained what they wanted to do, the generals, who are very respected. And they lost Ryan.

He also stated the Yemen raid was something that "was started before" he "got there." Which is a lie. The Obama administration had looked at action in Yemen, but never signed off on it. Oh, and Trump decided to go authorize the mission over dinner. From Vanity Fair:

Critics of the operation—including Senator John McCain—remain unconvinced that the Trump administration took the mission seriously. Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that Trump approved the raid over dinner, and that the mission continued even after the SEAL Team 6 commandos realized their position had been compromised. Trump, Spicer said at a later press briefing, remained in his residence during the raid instead of watching from the Situation Room. General James “Mad Dog” Mattis oversaw the operation in his stead.

All this brings us to Tuesday night's speech. Donald Trump, a man who received five deferments during Vietnam, who compared attending a cushy military school to actual military service, who once said avoiding sexually transmitted diseases during the early 1970's was his own "personal Vietnam," a man who has insulted veterans and POWs, and blamed his own military advisors for the deaths of Ryan Owens and 25 civilians, mostly women and children, needed to put lipstick on the pig. A lot of lipstick.

Enter Ryan Owens' widow, Carryn. During a phone call with Carryn Owens-a condolence call-Trump asked her to come to his speech. Mrs. Owens had just lost her husband, thousands of miles away, she was grieving, filled with sorrow and anguish, she was at her most vulnerable. In slithers Trump, knowing if he can get this pretty, blonde war bride to attend his speech, it would be amazing. For him.

Donald Trump did not invite Carryn Owens to Tuesday's speech because he feels responsible for the death of her husband. He did not invite her because he believes her husband is a hero. Trump invited her because he loves war porn, as do so many other conservatives. War isn't real to people like Trump. It's a John Wayne movie, where America is always awesome, and everyone else is evil. He recently commented that we never win anymore, meaning we never win war. He's right: since World War II, we haven't "won" a war. And that is due to our addiction to war.

War makes money. Just ask Bernie Sanders, in whose state of Vermont, two of the largest defense contractors reside-General Dynamics in Burlington and General Electric Aerospace, in Rutland. For folks who think GE just makes light bulbs and NBC shows, well, just take a look. Trump himself is asking for a $56 billion increase in defense spending, which is less than John McCain wants, but hey, as long as Lockheed Martin and Boeing and GD and GE and Raytheon and Honeywell and so many other defense contractors make a gazillion dollars, it's fine.

We have been mucking things up in the Middle East since the early 1950's, when the CIA overthrew a democratically-elected leader and installed a puppet regime. We have destabilized countries, created millions of refugees (refugees Trump wants to ban from this country), we have killed hundreds of thousands of people, including women, grandparents, and children. And we now have a president who has no concept of why any of this is happening, nor does he care. Donald Trump is never going to learn the backstory of ISIS or the Taliban or Al-Qaeda. All he knows is they're bad and we're perfect. Except when confronted with the fact that his BFF, Vladdie Putin, has killed journalists, then America has lots of killers, too.

The media, by the way, wet themselves over Trump's speech. Van Jones, who was a liberal with a brain prior to Tuesday, said Trump "became president in that moment," that moment being Carryn Owens.

Trump manipulated a grieving widow into becoming his lipstick. And it worked.