trump has things on a plate

What does it say about Republicans that their new hero is an out-of-shape 17-year-old white kid who armed himself with a borrowed semi-automatic weapon that he didn’t have the training, discipline, or emotional maturity necessary to handle effectively, and who inserted himself into an intensely chaotic, emotionally charged, violent situation he lacked the experience and situational awareness to handle, and who panicked when he was overtaken by events he wasn’t prepared to deal with?

I suppose it makes some sense. I mean, these same Republicans support an out-of-shape president who doesn’t have the training, discipline, or emotional maturity to handle his office effectively, and whose lack of experience creates intensely chaotic, emotionally charged, violent situations, and who panics when faced with situations he’s not prepared to deal with.

To maintain order we need the aid of emotionally underdeveloped 17-year-old boys with guns.

Kyle Rittenhouse and Donald Trump have a lot in common. They both seem to believe they’re more competent than they actually are. They both seem to share fantasies of being heroic. They both have issues with women. And they both adore Trump. In his defense, Rittenhouse is at least willing to get his hands dirty (no, I don’t mean by shooting people; I mean Rittenhouse spent some time cleaning graffiti off a building — can you imagine Trump doing that?).

What happened in Kenosha is perfectly on-brand for Trump. He values loyalty above competence and expertise (and by ‘loyalty’ I mean ‘boot-licking’ and ‘groveling’ and ‘hero worship’). It’s hardly surprising, then, that Trump and his followers would praise a 17-year-old loyalist for picking up an AR-15 and heading to Kenosha to help ‘maintain order’ in a situation that’s confounded trained police officers. It’s not surprising that Trump, when mayors and governors refuse his unwanted offers of assistance, will encourage caravans of truck-drivers and motorcyclists to invade a community to help ‘maintain order’. Trump is less interested in results than he is in having people follow his orders, whatever they are.

This is the Bizarro world we live in. It’s a world in which Trump can tweet ‘Law and Order!‘ as he fights a subpoena to provide DNA in an alleged rape case (which, if he was innocent, would clear him). It’s a world in which Trump shouts about election fraud even as he refuses to act against a hostile foreign nation that’s actively rat-fucking the election in Trump’s favor.

Future GOP member of Congress?

If Kyle Rittenhouse doesn’t spend the next few years in prison, he’ll very likely have a successful political career with the Republican Party. This is just a guess, but I suspect Kyle is probably more articulate than the president. A few days ago, when asked by the NY Times what his plans were for a second term, Trump said,

“But so I think, I think it would be, I think it would be very, very, I think we’d have a very, very solid, we would continue what we’re doing, we’d solidify what we’ve done, and we have other things on our plate that we want to get done.”

There you go. If you were looking for a reason to vote for Trump, now you have one. He has a plate, and that plate has things on it. One of those things is a 17-year-old boy who’s killed two people. Vote Trump 2020. MAGA.

the sink trap of politics

Last night Comrade Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination for president. He gave a speech, which I read this morning since I couldn’t bring myself to actually listen to him. Like all of Trump’s speeches, this one was filled with exaggerations, half-truths, suppositions, grimdark fantasies, and bald-faced lies. But he did say something I actually agreed with, something I truly believe.

“This is the most important election in the history of our country. “

It surely is. It’s important on so many levels. It’s important to end the most brazenly corrupt administration in US history. It’s important to remove a president who was elected with the help of a hostile foreign nation, and in return has refused to hold that nation accountable for any misconduct — including putting a bounty on the lives of US troops in Afghanistan. It’s important to remove a president whose rhetoric and policies are intended to divide the nation, who has celebrated convicted war criminals, who has advocated war crimes, and who has defended past and present racists and white supremacists.

The United States under Comrade Trump.

But it’s also the most important election because removing this president is one of the first steps we need to take in order to inoculate the nation against being so damned stupid. It shames me to say this, but the United States has become a profoundly stupid nation. This is bipartisan stupid, by the way. Although I believe conservatives exhibit it much more than liberals, the stupid is ubiquitous.

To be clear, when I use ‘stupid’ in this sense I’m not talking about a lack of intelligence. I’m not talking about an inability to learn and integrate new information. I’m talking about a collective refusal to learn and integrate new information. I’m talking about the rejection of common sense, comprehension, and perception. I’m talking about people who adopt an impermeable barrier to fend off common sense, comprehension, and perception. People who actively resist common sense, comprehension, and perception.

Trump policies.

It’s not just the quantity of stupid (though there’s a lot of stupid out there) or the quality of the stupid (it’s milspec stupid — stupid that’s been tested and re-tested to insure it will operate under extreme conditions). It’s the ubiquity of the stupid. It’s the overarching scale and scope of the stupid, the never-ending cascade of stupid. There’s no chance to pause and take a breath of common sense, because there’s more stupid coming, and it’s coming from every direction, and it’s coming from thousands of different sources.

We’ve become stupid about history, stupid about religion, stupid about science, stupid about the law, stupid about public health, stupid about governance, stupid about race, stupid about biology, stupid about the military, stupid about gender, stupid about the Constitution. We’ve become stupid in part because we no longer distinguish between opinion and fact, because we substitute faith and belief for evidence.

Look, there’s no disgrace in being stupid about some stuff. Everybody is stupid about something. I’m massively stupid about the internal combustion engine. I’m deeply stupid about basic household plumbing. But here’s the thing: most of us are willing to learn. If I’m having a new sink installed and the plumber — the person who’s been trained to think about plumbing — tells me I need a sink trap, then explains to me that a sink trap prevents debris from forming a clog deeper in the plumbing system, that a sink trap stops stinky sewer gas from entering my house, then I’ll make sure my new sink has a sink trap. You don’t have to blindly trust an expert, but you should damn well listen to what they have to say and try to understand it.

Voting Democratic.

That’s one of the reasons this election is so important. Donald Trump doesn’t know jack shit about plumbing. But he’s got a lot of plumbing supplies that fell off a truck and he wants to unload them. He doesn’t care if our sinks get clogged or sewer gas stinks up the house. Hell, he wants the sinks to clog. He’s chunking wads of hair and bacon grease down the sinks to make them clog, so we’ll want his plumbing supplies. He’s not concerned about us or our house; he’s just got plumbing supplies to unload and wants to make a buck off our ignorance.

Uncle Joe may not be up-to-date with the newest plumbing tech, but he’ll hire good plumbers and listen to them. He’ll make sure the US has a damned sink trap.

Editorial Note: Yeah, I know, it’s an awkward metaphor — but it’s not like I plan these essays. They just sort of happen. Then I find photos that fit. I like to think of it as ‘my process’.

Another Editorial Note: After I wrote this I learned that the University of Arizona has used wastewater to predict Covid outbreaks. It turns out folks who’ve been infected with the coronavirus quickly begin…uh…pooping the virus. (I am NOT making this up.) So by monitoring dorm sewage systems, the university was able to quickly discover an outbreak in one of their dorms. Yay science! Yay plumbing!

wake up, america

This question was actually asked and answered at Comrade Trump’s Covid news briefing last week.

Question: Mr. President, at the crux of the theory is this belief that you are secretly saving the world from this satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals. Does that sound like something you are behind or a believer in?
Trump: Well, I haven’t — I haven’t heard that. But is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing? I mean, you know, if I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it.

The question was about Q-Anon, of course. Everybody is talking about Q, curious about Q, focused on Q. Think about it, though. Is it actually believable that Trump is secretly working with law enforcement to stop Hollywood celebrities and Democrats from stealing European children from Episcopalian churches for perverse sexual rituals and Satanic cannibalistic feasts?

No. No, the Truth is the Q-Anon conspiracy theory is just a silly distraction devised by alien agents embedded in the Dip State to keep you from looking at real conspiracies.

Zoo-Anon — Have you ever noticed how many seemingly innocent buildings in zoos have locked doors? Locked, with prominent Keep Out signs. Some are even reinforced with padlocks. What are they hiding? What’s going on behind those closed doors? What…or who…are they keeping hidden away from public scrutiny? Could there be secret rooms lined with stacks of cages holding European children stolen from Episcopalian churches? Are those children being sold to Hollywood celebrities? Or Democrats? For perverse sexual rituals and Satanic cannibalistic feasts? It’s no coincidence zoos are stocked with tranquilizer dart guns. Wake up, America.

Hue-Anon — Why are there so many multi-colored flags out there? You’ve seen them. Some are variations on the Stars and Stripes, but with curious and unorthodox colors. Some are passed off as Pride flags or flags of supposed ‘sports’ teams, or even national flags of countries with ridiculously improbable names (like Ruritania or Peru). Isn’t it more likely that many of those ‘flags’ are actually coded messages? Messages hidden in plain sight, recognizable to agents of the Dip State traveling incognito, transporting European children stolen from Episcopalian churches to be delivered to Hollywood celebrities and Democrats for perverse sexual rituals and Satanic cannibalistic feasts. Keep your eyes open, don’t accept any flag except Old Gory. Wake up, America.

Roux-Anon — Have you noticed how many so-called ‘chefs’ are foreigners? Not just foreigners, but supposedly French? Why? Are we to believe France–a nation whose relationship with armpit hair is questionable–produces the world’s best cooks? Have you ever actually met a real French cook? Probably not. And yet the myth persists and the myth is grounded in the preparation of a thickening agent used in cooking. It’s called a ‘roux’ but it’s literally nothing more than flour mixed with some form of rendered fat, perhaps. Why did they have to make up a French-sounding world for that? More importantly, where does that fat come from? Could it be the baby fat of European children stolen from Episcopalian churches for the perverse pleasure of Hollywood celebrities and Democrats for perverse sexual rituals and Satanic cannibalistic feasts? Why do you think ‘French cuisine’ is so expensive? Learn to think for yourselves. Wake up, America.

J. Crew-Anon — This clothing retailer recently announced it would apply for bankruptcy protection. Why? They claim it’s because of the Covid-19 pandemic. But the president assures us that children are virtually immune from Covid. Isn’t it more likely that European children stolen from Episcopalian churches are sold to J. Crew as slave labor after they’ve grown too old for the perverse pleasure of Hollywood celebrities and Democrats for perverse sexual rituals and Satanic feasts? Isn’t it more likely the company is closing its doors for fear that President Trump and Attorney General Barr are on the verge of arresting the executives of J. Crew and holding them in a Manhattan jail until they are murdered by ninja assassins hired by Hollywood celebrities and Democrats? Follow the logic. Wake up, America.

Gnu-Anon — A pony is an odd-toed ungulate. A gnu is an even-toed ungulate. Why is this important? Hollywood celebrities and Democrats are fiendishly clever. They needed an easily identifiable symbol that can be worn in public–a symbol which would allow them to recognize others of their sexually perverse Satanic cannibalistic ilk (yes, they are an ilk). Ordinary decent people might wear a polo shirt with the traditional emblem of a polo pony on the front. If you look closely at the next Hollywood celebrity fund-raiser for a Democrat, you’ll notice some of those polo shirts actually feature a galloping gnu. If you pay attention, you’ll hear them exchange a ritual greeting. “Hey buddy, how’s it going?” What this really means is, “Hello fellow conspirator, have you any European children stolen from Episcopalian churches available for perverse sexual rituals and Satanic cannibalistic feasts?” This is happening right in front of your eyes. Wake up, America.

Jew-Anon — This is a false flag conspiracy theory. (Not in the Hue-Anon sense, but in the sense that it doesn’t make any sense, if that makes sense.) Does anybody really believe Jews would engage in a conspiracy of any sort? I mean, they’ve never even been able to put together a professional football team. Don’t be stupid.

The Truth is out there. All you have to do is look for it. Wake up, America. Wake up.

toggle election

Republican Friend: I’ve been a moderate Republican all my life. I voted for Trump last time, but I didn’t think he’d actually win. I can’t bring myself to vote for him this time.
Me: Great. Glad to hear it.
RF: Don’t be too glad. I’m not voting for Biden either.
Me: Those are the only choices. Trump or Biden.
RF: I’m voting for Jo Jorgensen.
Me: Who?
RF: Jo Jorgensen.
Me: Who is Jo Jorgensen when she’s at home?
RF: She’s the Libertarian candidate.
Me: So you’re voting for Trump.
RF: No, I’m voting for Jorgensen.
Me: Same thing.
RF: No, it’s not. I’m voting my conscience.
Me: Bullshit. You’re dodging your conscience.
RF: No, I’m not. I said I can’t bring myself to vote for…
Me: Yeah, I know what you said. And I know what you meant. You mean you don’t want to feel any responsibility if Trump is re-elected.
RF: No, that’s not it.
Me: Bullshit. That’s exactly it. You don’t want to vote for Trump, but you’re not going to do anything to prevent him from being re-elected. You’re more concerned with soothing your conscience than with protecting the Constitution.
RF: That’s not true. Biden won’t fix the nation’s prob…
Me: Does Jo Jorgensen have a popcorn fart’s chance of winning?
RF: No, but that’s not the point. The point is…
Me: Fuck your point. This is a toggle election. The choices are truly binary. Yes or no. Up or down. On or off. Biden or Trump. Those are the only choices.
RF: I have to vote my conscience.
Me: Fuck you and fuck your conscience. You’re a coward.
RF: I’m not a…
Me: You’re dodging all personal responsibility to act for the good of the nation. It’s no different than saying you oppose the pandemic but won’t wear a mask. Fuck you.
RF: It’s not like that at all.
Me: Did I just say ‘Fuck you’? I believe I did. Fuck you again.
RF: Are you angry with me?
Me: Shut up. Go away. Fuck you and everybody you know, you fucking coward.
RF: I understand you’re upset.
RF: Hello?
Former Republican Friend: Hello?

piece of cake

Just stop and think for a second. Just stop, take a moment, take a deep breath, and remember these three things:

  • Comrade Trump lies.
  • There are about 157 million registered voters in the U.S.
  • On a normal day the USPS delivers 472 million pieces of mail.

So when Trump says the Postal Service can’t handle the crush of election ballots, he’s lying. They absolutely can do the job. Even if every single one of those hundred and fifty-seven million voters put their ballot in the mail, the Postal Service would be able to sort them and deliver them to the proper address. Hell, last year the Postal Service delivered 2.5 billion pieces of mail in the week before Christmas.

Seriously, the USPS has this process down. Here’s what happens when you slide your ballot into a mailbox along with all the other envelopes people have dropped in there. Somebody fetches all the mail from that box and takes it to a mail processing plant. Machines separate mail by shape and size. The envelopes are oriented so the addresses are right-side up and facing the same direction. The envelopes are scanned, given a postmark, and machines print cancellation lines across postage stamps. A fluorescent bar code is imprinted on the back of each piece of mail. An optical scanner scans the address, then a bar code representing the specific address is sprayed on the front of the envelope . Other machines read the bar codes and direct the letters into bins based on ZIP codes. The bins are then flown or trucked to a regional processing plant. At the final processing plant, the same thing happens. Instead of sorting individual envelopes into bulk bins, the bulk bins are sorted into individual envelopes. Those envelopes are taken to individual post offices, loaded onto trays, and distributed to individual vehicles and individual carriers for delivery.

Your ballot envelope has been developed to speed that process. Most mail-in voters will get postage-paid envelopes for returning their ballots, the address is pre-printed and prepared for machine sorting, and (unless you’re a true absentee voter) your ballot is probably already in the correct regional processing plant. Easy peasy lemon breezy.

Delivering a hundred and fifty-seven million pre-addressed postage-paid ballot envelopes? Piece of cake. The USPS has the infrastructure, the technology, the human resources, and the commitment of their personnel to get the job done quickly and professionally.

Unless the process gets disrupted. That would take a concerted effort to degrade the infrastructure (like removing mailboxes), to eliminate the technology (like removing sorting machines), to put limits on the people (like putting an end to overtime), and to undermine the commitment of the members of the USPS (by destroying their creed to deliver all the mail in a timely fashion regardless of weather).

The only way to disrupt voting by mail is for some corrupt motherfucker to install a corrupt motherfucker as Postmaster General and for other corrupt motherfuckers in Congress to shrug and turn away while yet another American institution is destroyed.


Comrade Trump loves to announce things. Announcing stuff is fun. You get to stand in front of a lot of people who want to hear the announcement, you make your announcement, then you can go do something else. Eat some chicken, play golf, make some phone calls. After a while you get to watch television and see how they report your announcement. Great fun.

The best thing about announcing stuff? It gets reported as if whatever it was you announced you were going to do is basically already done. You get credit for the thing just by making the announcement.

Here’s an example. Yesterday Comrade Trump held a…okay, I don’t even know what to call it. He called it a ‘press conference’ because the news media were there, but it was held at one of Trump’s golf clubs and attended by members of his club (who repeated booed the reporters). And he used the forum to campaign against Uncle Joe, so I guess it was sort of a mini-rally for folks who paid US$200,000 to join his golf club and had a free afternoon.

A very white, very rich mini-rally disguised as a press conference.

Whatever it was, Trump used it to announce that he’d signed “four bills” (they weren’t bills) that he said would “save American jobs and provide relief to the American worker” (they don’t). But hey, he announced it, he signed some documents, he showed the documents to the audience so they could applaud, and they applauded. Job done. The news media reported it like it meant something.

It didn’t. But here’s the headline from USA TODAY:

Trump signs executive orders enacting $400 unemployment benefit, payroll tax cut after coronavirus stimulus talks stall.

It sounds really decisive, doesn’t it. It wasn’t. It sounds like Trump actually did something. He didn’t. Three of the four ‘bills’ he signed were actually memoranda; the other was an executive order. The one he claimed would provide a moratorium on evictions only suggested that HUD should consider halting evictions. He also said he’d defer payroll tax payments for some folks, which basically means they’d still have to pay those taxes–but just not right now. It would all come due at tax time. And, of course, a payroll tax only applies to people who are actually on a payroll. If you’re unemployed, it doesn’t help you at all.

And that US$400 in unemployment insurance he promised? He’s sucking enough coin out of FEMA to increase unemployment benefits by $300 (which is nothing to grumble about), but the deal depends on states paying that last $100, which is a serious problem because 1) it means the states have to set up a system to do that, which could take some time and 2) the states are almost broke because 2a) they’ve lost a lot of tax revenue because of Covid-19 and 2b) Trump dumped the responsibility for testing and treatment on the states, which cost them big bucks. So this probably won’t fly.

The only thing he likes more than announcing stuff he won’t do is signing things he can’t read.

The only real thing Comrade Trump did was to issue an executive order extending the suspension of monthly payments for federally-held student loans. It’s only for three months, but it’s something. And it’s a good thing (and you people say I never give Trump credit for the good things he’s done).

So the headlines suggest that Trump has actually done the things he announced, even though all he’s done is announce them. The list of things he’s announced he was going to do but hasn’t is extensive. Google ‘Trump announces’ and you’ll get about 921,000,000 results. I mean, how many times has he announced that Covid-19 is under control? But here we are with 5,000,000 confirmed cases and nearly 165,000 dead.

Comrade Trump is a serial announcer, no mistake. But here are a few things he hasn’t announced:

  • a mask mandate
  • the arrest of the officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor
  • sanctions against Russia for putting a bounty on killing Marines in Afghanistan
  • the release of his income tax records for the last ten years
  • an apology for…well, any of the appalling shit he’s said and done
  • his resignation

Of course, even if DID make those announcements, he probably wouldn’t follow through.

gloom of trump

You’ve heard it a million times, often incorrectly. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. It’s the creed of the United States Post Office.

The Post Office is maybe the most democratic institution in all of These United States. You put any sort of reasonable address on an envelope, slap a fifty-five cent stamp on it, stick it in your mailbox and the Post Office will send somebody right to your house, fetch that envelope right outa your mail box, and carry it to that address, usually within one to three business days.

Delivering mail in the rain during a damn pandemic.

Don’t matter if that address is in Manhattan or Boise or some farm house outside of Broken Bow, Nebraska. Some poor carrier in Sidney, Montana has to drive a mail route nearly two hundred miles long to deliver the mail to 272 mailboxes. There are 176 folks who live along a 30-mile stretch of the Magnolia River in Alabama who get their mail delivered by boat. A native tribe, the Havasupai, who live at the bottom of the Grand Canyon get their mail after an eight-mile trip down the canyon using mules. Mules. You got a legit address, the Post Office will deliver your mail. And yeah, even if it’s raining or snowing or hot or gloomy AF.

Delivering mail by a damn mule train.

The USPS isn’t perfect, but considering the massive scale and scope of their mission they do a damned good job. Again, First Class postage is only fifty-five cents. If somebody asked me to walk the thirty feet to my mailbox in the rain in exchange for fifty-five cents, I’d tell them to piss off.

But Comrade Donald Trump is deliberately wrecking the Postal Service. Deliberately. And he’s doing it for the most corrupt reason: to make it harder for US citizens to vote during a pandemic.

He replaced the Postmaster General — Megan Brennan, a woman whose 34-year career with the USPS began as a letter carrier, who was familiar with every operation inside the USPS from personal experience — with Louis DeJoy, a man with no USPS experience at all. DeJoy is a major donor to the Trump campaign; over the last four years he and his wife have contributed more than US$2 million to the Trump campaign and other Republican causes. Trump is also considering DeJoy’s wife to be Ambassador to Canada. In her financial disclosure statement, she noted she and her husband own “between $30.1 million and $75.3 million in assets in USPS competitors or contractors.”

Delivering mail in a damn boat on a damn river.

That’s what we call ‘a conflict of interest’. Any harm DeJoy does to the USPS not only helps Trump, it helps DeJoy’s businesses. He was obligated to divest himself of those holdings within 30 days of his appointment. Has he? We don’t know. He’s stated “I’ve done what is necessary to ensure that I am and will remain in compliance with those obligations” but I confess I find it impossible to uncritically accept the word of any Trump appointee.

Since his appointment in June, DeJoy has 1) instituted policies that deliberately slow mail delivery, 2) discontinued the practice of carriers delivering mail by the end of the day if it results in overtime, 3) informed the states they can no longer mail ballots to voters at the bulk rate of 20 cents but must pay the First Class rate of 55 cents (nearly tripling the cost of mailing ballots), 4) reassigned or displaced thirty-three senior USPS officials who have decades of experience, disrupting the chain of command, 5) instituted a hiring freeze, and 6) encouraged career USPS officials to take early retirement.

That’s just since the middle of June.

Delivering mail in a damn snowstorm.

This isn’t just Trump eroding faith in a trusted US institution, it’s deliberate sabotage of the Postal Service. It’s clearly intended to disrupt mail service as we approach an election that very likely will hinge on mail-in ballots. And Republicans in Congress will aid and abet Trump in another step toward authoritarian government.

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. But Trump will.