weather report

Comrade Trump: I got it! I got it! Why don’t we nuke them?
White House Aide: Yes sir, we will. Who are ‘them’?
Trump: Hurricanes!
Aide: Hurricanes?
Trump: Nuke the shit out of them!
Aide: We’ll look into it, sir.

Aide: He wants to nuke hurricanes.
Other aide: What the fuck?
Aide: Yeah, I don’t know.
Other aide: Why does…wait, he…fuck me with a chainsaw.

Other aide: He wants to nuke hurricanes.
Journalist: What the fuck?
Other aide: Yeah, I don’t know. Don’t use my name.
Journalist: Okay. But how does he…I mean, why would…fuck me with a chainsaw.

“I got it! I got it! Nuke the shit out of ’em!”

Journalist: Mr. President, there are reports you’ve suggested nuking hurricanes. Your response?
Comrade Trump: I never said that! Fake news!
Journalist: Sir, you…
Trump: Excuse me. Obama had eight years, never did anything about hurricanes! Nothing! His hurricane policy was a total disaster!
Journalist: But Mr. Presi…
Trump: Excuse me. Nothing! Democrats love hurricanes! And open borders and crime! The Trump administration has done more for hurricanes than almost anybody, I can tell you that! By the way, you think it’s a coincidence that every hurricane is coming from south of the border? We’re building wall! New wall!
Journalist: Are you saying a border wall would…
Trump: Excuse me. Excuse me. Nobody knows more about hurricanes than I do! Nobody! Obama was weak! A disaster. I didn’t say nuke! I never said nuke! I could do nuke if I wanted, but I don’t want nuke! But I could! I inherited the hurricane situation from Obama! There were hurricanes before Trump! Long before! But I’m not saying nuke! I never said that! You’re fake news!
Journalist: Thank you Mr. President.

Journalist: Today President Trump stated he was instituting a ‘no-nuke’ policy regarding hurricanes, separating himself from previous administration policies.
Other journalist: It’s a complicated situation. Democrats have so far failed to come up with a hurricane proposal that’s acceptable to the president.
Journalist: Both sides need to work together to come up with a solution.
Other Journalist: Hurricanes shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

People of the World: What the fuck?

shrieking rage and frustration

Every morning it’s the same damned thing. Get up, check the perimeter, feed the cat, make coffee, read the news, try to decide if Comrade Trump is driven more by an undifferentiated infantile need to be the center of attention or by a massively corrupt desire to feed his own self interests. Or if he’s just completely fucking nuts.

It’s dark and cloudy out this morning. Looks like a storm is coming. I should leave soon and try to get a walk in before it hits.

The news this morning is largely about Comrade Trump being pissed off. He’s pissed off at U.S. Jews who didn’t/won’t vote for him, accusing them of being either stupid or traitorous (although it’s unclear whether he believe they’re betraying him, the U.S., or Israel). He’s also wildly pissed at Denmark, not just because they won’t/can’t sell him Greenland, but also because the Danish government mocked his desire to buy an autonomous state and its entire population.

On the other hand, Comrade Trump is pleased as punch (tangent — where the hell does that expression come from? Pleased as punch?) with a conspiracy theorist who said — and I swear I am NOT making this up — that he’s “the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world, not just America, he is the best President for Israel in the history of the world…and the Jewish people in Israel love him….like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God.”

You guys, I actually don’t know how to respond to shit like this. I mean, sure, I’ll mock it and make fun of him, but Jesus suffering fuck, I just want to step out onto the deck and shriek my rage and frustration at…at I don’t know who or what. It’s almost enough to make me want to believe in god or gods so I’ve got something to shriek at.

I mean, how the FUCK did this guy ever get elected? (And yes, yes, yes, I know the answer to that, but how the FUCK did this guy ever get elected?) He’s an absolutely horrible human being. He’s corrupt, he’s cheap, he’s got no integrity, he lies about anything for no reason, he’s delusional, he’s gauche, he’d be amoral if he understood what morals are. He doesn’t read, he doesn’t listen to music, he knows nothing about art. He’s got no conscience, no respect for anything, no empathy, no patriotism, no compassion, no courage, no principles, no honor. He’s got no friends.

Let me say that again. HE’S GOT NO FRIENDS. Comrade Trump is arguably one of the most powerful people on the planet, but nobody cares enough about him as a person to tell him he’s got toilet paper stuck on his shoe.

Fuck. It’s raining now. It’s gone really dark outside. There’s thunder. I can see lightning in the distance. Fuck fuck fuck. I won’t be taking the walk I really need to take in order to calm the fuck down.

I don’t know…maybe this is the perfect time to step out onto the deck and shriek my rage and frustration. If you’ll just excuse me for a moment…

in regard to punching nazis

Two things: 1) If you’re a Nazi, a neo-Nazi, or any flavor of white nationalist shouting white nationalist bullshit, be prepared to suffer the consequences; 2) if you punch a Nazi, be prepared to suffer the consequences.

Seriously, that’s a very basic Boolean social algebraic equation. Being a visible Nazi plus shouting racist bullshit equals a high probability of getting punched. Punching a Nazi plus the presence of law enforcement equals getting arrested.

Here’s an example being played out in the court system right now. Back in June of 2016 (that’s right — 2016) the Traditionalist Worker Party (a white nationalist group) and the Golden State Skinheads held a rally in Sacramento. Counter-protesters, including members of the anti-fascist group By Any Means Necessary, also showed up in opposition. The police, in the form of the California Highway Patrol, also showed up.

Before the rally was scheduled to begin, TWP member Nigel Walker, waving a white nationalist flag on a long wooden pole, approached some of the counter-protesters taunting them and encouraging them to come at him. There it is: visible Nazi plus shouting racist bullshit, which equals…? Right. Getting punched. There was a scuffle, during which the flag was ripped from the flagpole, which Walker then used as a weapon. Following that scuffle, Walker moved to an area with a law enforcement presence.

Walker was then approached by BAMN member Yvette Felarca, who deliberately bumped into him, and punched him at least twice in the stomach. There it is again: punching a Nazi plus the presence of the police equals…? Right. Getting arrested. CHP intervened and Felarca was arrested.

Felarca punching Walker.

This is math, people. If you’re a public Nazi, don’t be surprised if you get punched. If you punch a Nazi in public, don’t be surprised if you get arrested. If you’re not willing to get punched, don’t be a public Nazi. If you’re not willing to get arrested, don’t punch a Nazi in public. This is really fucking simple.

Right now Felarca is facing charges for punching Walker. She’s claiming “standing up to fascism is not a crime.” And she’s right — there’s nothing criminal about standing up to fascism. Punching somebody, however, is generally criminal.

Let me be clear. I DO NOT endorse punching Nazis, either in public or in private. On the other hand, I don’t condemn punching Nazis either. Nazis are totally punch-worthy. I’m of the opinion that if there’s a Nazi present and you’re willing to be arrested, then go ahead and punch him. Just don’t complain about getting arrested if you do it. And if you’re a Nazi, don’t complain about getting punched.

EDITORIAL NOTE: The criminal case against Felarca seems awfully weak. She’s charged with felony assault, which is probably just the State overcharging her to encourage her to plea to a lesser offence — a common prosecutorial tactic. She has an affirmative provocation defense, and there’s evidence of prosecutorial misconduct and bias against the anti-fascists. But the merits of the case itself are separate from the inescapable social algebra of Nazi-punching.

endorsements

A couple of days ago, Robert Kabel and Jill Homan (chairman and vice chairwoman of Log Cabin Republicans) published an editorial in the Washington Post with this headline:

Trump met his commitments to LGBTQ Americans. He has our endorsement.

I swear, I am not making that up. I mean, sure, they’re Log Cabin Republicans, but Jesus suffering fuck, c’mon. Comrade Trump has met his commitments to LGBTQ Americans? Maybe Trump isn’t as homophobic as he is racist and misogynistic, but that’s a pretty low bar. I mean, the guy has spent nearly three years undermining every LGBTQ protection that somebody on his staff has pointed out to him.

Kabel and Homan argue that Comrade Trump has “mov[ed] past the culture wars that dominated the 1990s and early 2000s…by removing gay rights as a wedge issue from the old Republican playbook.” That sentence would be more accurate if they’d put a period after ‘rights’.

Cancer patients endorse RoundUp. “Our weed-free lawns are the envy of our neighbors!”

They say Trump “has committed to end the spread of HIV/AIDS in 10 years.” And that’s true. He has committed to that. He’s also committed to making Mexico pay for a border wall and to starting a Space Force. Trump’s commitments are as phony as his promises. The reality is that in June of 2017, six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS resigned in protest of Trump’s health policies, saying he “has no strategy to address the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy, and—most concerning—pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV.” After they resigned, Trump shit-canned all the remaining members of the Council. The new Chair of the Council is an advocate of abstinence-only sex education programs, who rejects the use of condoms as a method to prevent the spread of HIV and other STDs. Seriously.

Environmentalists endorse napalm. “Really, it’s a chance to start over!”

Kabel and Homan claim Trump has pushed “an initiative to end the criminalization of homosexuality”. Somehow they overlook his affection for Saudi Arabia, which publicly beheaded five men accused of homosexuality in April. One of them apparently had his head pinned to a pole in a public square. How’s that initiative working out?

Bears endorse forest fires. “They keep our forests clear of those pesky campers!”

They refer to Richard Grenell, the openly gay US ambassador to Germany, describing him as “one of many LGBTQ appointees whom Trump has tapped to…serve America’s people and the government with honor and distinction.” But they ignore the fact that Comrade Trump also initiated a policy of denying visas to the unmarried, same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and United Nations officials.

Hitchhikers endorse serial killers. “Those guys really know how to keep us on our toes!”

Kabel and Homen conclude by saying, “To be treated equally, fairly and justly under the law is our goal, and we know that ‘Inclusion Wins’ is a mantra we share with the president.” Inclusion? By the most divisive president in US history? To be treated equally, fairly, and justly by an administration that just proposed a change to federal rules that would make it easier for private employers who do business with the federal government to fire employees for their sexual orientation or gender identity?

Let’s not forget that a year or so after his election, Comrade Trump found himself discussing gay rights with a legal scholar. According to The New Yorker, Trump nodded to his vice president and said, as a joke, “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!” Even as a joke, it tells you everything you need to know about the Trump administration’s views of LGBTQ issues.

Librarians endorse dog-earing. “Bookmarks are for pussies!”

I shouldn’t be surprised that Log Cabin Republicans endorse Trump. They’re more Republican than Log Cabin. And, sadly, the Republican party under Trump leadership is barely recognizable as a political party. It’s become more of a cult, abandoning most of its principles in the hope of retaining power.

Of course, they endorsed Comrade Trump for re-election.

at the fair

You know those mornings when you wake up, deal with the cat, and drink your cold brew coffee while you consider the list of things you ought to do, some of which are moderately important, but by the time you empty your mug you’ve decided to skip all those things and go to the state fair instead? That was me yesterday.

Young couple trying to see how many kids they can stuff in the cab of a really big tractor.

I like the state fair. I love the state fairgrounds more than I like the actual fair; I’ve spent a LOT more time noodling around the fairgrounds during the off-season than I have during the fair itself. But the fair is fun too. The noise, the smells, the crowds, the weird tension, the chaos, the confusion — I like all of that.

I like to look at farm technology. Tractors and combines and — okay, I have no idea what most farm tech is called. Or what it does. I confess, I have absolutely NO interest in the purpose of farm tech. But I’m fascinated by 1) how massive some modern farm equipment is, and 2) the fact that there are people who restore or refurbish old tractors. I like to listen to old guys (and it’s always guys) talk about their old tractors, even though I’ve no idea what they’re talking about. I recognize them as nerd-geeks who have a passion I can respect even though it’s entirely foreign to me.

Old guys talking about old tractors.

I also like that things I don’t understand are being judged by standards I also don’t understand. Like horses and sheep. Or cabbages and turnips. Or sewing and crafting. I look at the prize cabbages and I have no idea why one cabbage is superior to the next. I have no idea why this cow is better than that cow, or why the way that horse trots surpasses the way this other horse trots. But there are folks out there who DO know those things, and I find that notion wonderful. (By the way, I don’t need — or want — an explanation for why one horse’s trot is superior; I’m just happy that folks who DO know and care about such things exist.)

Some sort of horse judging thing. Or maybe a riding judging thing. There was definitely judging going on.

I like the people I see at the fair. Not just the folks like me, who show up and eat the deep fried vegan peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and marvel at the size of the biggest boar, but the folks who move to the fair for a week or so and show their animals. Again, I don’t know dick about farming or farm stuff. But I’m always impressed by the people — and especially the kids and younger folks — who spend their fair days washing and drying their cows or goats, or shoveling animal shit out of stalls and laying down hay (if that’s hay — what do I know from hay?). When I was a kid I had to do the usual chores — wash dishes, maybe mow the lawn, that sort of thing. These farm kids? They’re raising livestock and acting like it’s no big deal.

Blow drying a goat.

Kids. A tangent here. As a rule, I don’t photograph kids. I think kids going about their daily kid lives doing kid things are eminently photographable and interesting, but photographing kids these days is just a pain in the ass. It’s not the kids; it’s the parents. I have, in the past, been accosted by parents for shooting photos in the general vicinity of kids. Not photos OF kids, mind you; just photographs of stuff in a park where kids are playing — stuff with zero kids in the frame. Nothing is more embarrassing and frustrating and infuriating than being waylaid by an irate parent and basically accused, in public, of being a pervert. So I just don’t photograph kids anymore.

Except at the fair. I will occasionally shoot a photo of a kid engaged in some farm/fair related activity. Like blow-drying a sheep. I’m not photographing the kid, you understand. I’m photographing the activity. But sometimes there are moments when a kid is being so perfectly a kid that you have to make an exception. So I photographed a kid. I am NOT going to feel guilty about it.

Woke up from a nap, got chores to do.

Actually it turns out it’s almost impossible to shoot a photo at the state fair without including a kid. They’re everywhere. Which is as it should be, since fairs are all about being a kid. Sometimes when you’re taking a photo of a kid, you’re also shooting a photograph of somebody being a good, caring, thoughtful parent.

Cooling mist on a hot fair day.

When I got home I was surprised that almost every photograph I shot had a kid in it. Or an old person. Or a disabled person. Old folks and disabled folks on mobility scooters zipped around the fairgrounds like hornets, like pirates, like…well, kids. They probably shouldn’t have been eating funnel cakes or deep fried Twinkies or bacon-wrapped BBQ ribs, but they were. They probably should have been napping, but they weren’t. They probably should have headed inside when the sky got dark and it began to sprinkle, but they didn’t. They faired (and yeah, I know ‘fair’ isn’t a verb, but there ought to be a term to describe the act of enjoying a fair). Those folks faired like bosses. It was great to see.

Leaving the fair just as it began to sprinkle.

That was the fair. I saw a cabbage bigger than my head. I saw a massive horse with hairy hooves that looked like it ought to be pulling a Russian sleigh and escaping a pack of wolves. I saw farm tech that looked like mooncraft. I saw a sleepy young cowboy who’ll almost certainly look exactly the same in forty years. I ate a deep fried  peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a damned stick. I walked six and a half miles (unless my Fitbit is lying to me).

I faired moderately well.

i’m probably wrong, but…

Crime, boy, I don’t know.

I mean, c’mon. Here’s Comrade Trump, who I should remind you is the actual President of the United States, casually suggesting that a former president, Bill Clinton, was somehow responsible for having accused pedophile Jeffery Epstein murdered while he was in the custody of the United States Department of Justice. He doesn’t offer any evidence of that. He just tosses the accusation out there. Bill Clinton had Epstein killed. And he says it like it’s, you know, a bad thing.

And at the same time, here’s Comrade Trump brushing off actual evidence that Mohammad Bin Salman had Washington Post reporter Jamal Kashoggi tortured, murdered, and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, like it’s no big deal. So I’m just a tad confused here.

Murder, boy, I don’t know. You’d think if Donald Trump was okay with the murder of a respected, award-winning journalist who was a resident of the United States, then he’d probably be okay — maybe even moderately pleased — by the murder of a convicted pedophile rapist who lived part time on a private sex island. But apparently not. I just don’t know how to explain that.

I don’t want to cast aspersions or anything, but I’m beginning to wonder if Comrade Trump is being entirely consistent here. It sort of almost kinda sounds like he has a different murder standard for folks he likes. Maybe — and I’m probably entirely wrong here — but maybe he’d have been more positive about Epstein’s ‘suicide wink wink’ if he thought bin Salman (or his boy Kim Jong Un) had been behind it?

It’s beginning to sound like Trump is more interested in conspiracy theories involving his political enemies than in actual conspiracies involving his buddies. But naw, that can’t be right. Can it?

EDITORIAL NOTE: There’s a 99.95% chance that all the conspiracy theories about Epstein’s death are bullshit. Negligence and incompetence are a much more likely explanation. Though not as entertaining.

he is who he is

Look, it’s part of the job. I know, it’s not listed as a duty in the Constitution, but when there’s a national tragedy, folks want — they expect — the president to acknowledge the tragedy with compassion. They want the president to recognize their suffering, their grief, and to share that suffering and grief to some extent. They want the president to understand what they’re experiencing.

All Comrade Trump had to do yesterday was show up and make the day about the victims and the families of the victims of the mass shootings. That’s it. He didn’t have to solve all their problems, he didn’t have to tell them everything was going to be okay, he didn’t have to promise to fix things immediately. He just had to listen, be gentle, show some respect, and actually care about what they were going through.

He couldn’t do it. As always, Trump had to make it all about himself. His grievances, the level of his support, his treatment by others, his popularity. I truly believe he can’t help it. It’s part of his personality disorder. He’s simply incapable of experiencing the world from any perspective other than his own. It would be sad — tragic, even — if he wasn’t such a hateful, malignant person.

No, that’s inaccurate; it IS sad and tragic. But I struggle to feel any compassion for him because he IS such a hateful, malignant person. It’s sad and tragic for him, but it’s really sad and tragic for the rest of us because we can’t divorce ourselves from the consequences of his personality disorder. He’s broken, and as president he’s breaking our nation.

So yesterday, instead of offering solace and comfort to the nation, Comrade Trump further inflamed passions. Instead of quietly grieving with those who are suffering, he turned the trip into what was essentially a campaign event. He mugged and smiled for the cameras, he attacked his detractors, he took selfies, he lashed out at his perceived enemies, he bragged about his popularity and how much respect he was shown, and he pouted when others failed to recognize how popular and respected he was.

I don’t think anybody actually expected Trump would accept any responsibility for fueling the hatred that revealed itself in El Paso. I don’t think anybody expected him to apologize for that, or offer to change his vitriolic tone. Nobody expected him to be suddenly Not Trump. But we hoped (some of us hoped) he’d act like a decent human being. All he had to do was say “I’m sorry for your loss, I’m sorry for your troubles, I’m so very sorry this happened to you and to your community and to our nation.” That’s all he had to do; that and stay quiet. It wouldn’t have been easy, especially knowing that a lot of folks feel he IS responsible for the hatred that manifested itself in the shootings. It wouldn’t be easy, but he’s the president. It’s not an easy job.

In the end, he couldn’t do it. He simply couldn’t meet the very minimum requirements of the job. He couldn’t put aside his own insecurities, his own resentments, his own relentless spite. Not even for the few hours he spent in public. He couldn’t do it. He doesn’t have it in himself to be decent.

He is who he is.

ADDENDUM (8-9-19) — A photo of Comrade and Mrs. Trump, who is holding a baby whose parents were killed by the Walmart gunman, was released on the FLOTUS Twitter account yesterday. It seems none of the victims still in the hospital in El Paso were willing to meet with Trump during his visit. The baby, who’d been released from the hospital, was brought back just for this photograph.

He is who he is.

ADDENDUM 2 — Also, while Comrade Trump was visiting Dayton and El Paso, ICE agents were raiding a few Mississippi chicken processing plants, detaining undocumented immigrant workers (not, coincidentally, the plant owners who hired them). It was the first day of school in Mississippi, which meant a lot of kids went to school and came home to empty houses, not knowing what happened to their parents, not knowing when/if their parents might return, not knowing where they’d get fed or sleep or…or anything. The cruelty and casual disregard for the welfare of those children is as appalling as Trump’s campaign tour of shooting victims.