a short list of things that are more national emergencier than a wall

— health care
— gun violence
— climate change
— ocean pollution
— noise pollution
— light pollution
— every fucking kind of pollution
— protecting the Mueller investigation
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders
— equal pay for the US Women’s Soccer team
— urban e-scooters
— single cup coffee makers
— the men’s rights movement
— angry white men
— men
— televisions as big as autopsy tables
— the novels of Dan Brown
— Ann Coulter
— de-clutter fascists
— individually-wrapped ‘cheese’ tiles
— slasher movies
— WalMart
— the Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot
— everybody wearing ear-buds or headphones everywhere
— all those damned Kardashians
— sex robots
— Peeps-flavored coffee creamer
— drones
— kids living with their parents after age 25, or 21, or maybe 19
— designers who make women’s clothing without pockets
— everybody associated in any way with the Trump administration
— Trump

“I just want to stand on top of the Wall and piss off the edge of the world!” Tyrion Lannister

Comrade Donald Trump would be wise to hire the smallest Lannister, who at least understands the most important function of a wall.

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a few suggestions for wall

Dear Presadent Trump,

We must build a good wall across the southern bord–no, wait–every border to make America safe from the terrorist and gang violence and drug. It is impertive that we have thewall. I am not a engineer, but I have thought about this for long hours and I have for you a few suggestion for the build of the wall.

— do not use iron because it rust
— make it pointy and smeer points with dog feses
— make it electric and with solar panes so the terrorist will get a shock but wont cost much for the electic bill.
— put something on it that will, make people itch you cant climb and itch orscratch at the same time. Also put dog feses in the itch powder togive infection if they itch a bloody wound
— hire cowboys to ride along wall and shoot sometimes even if there arent any terrorist or gangmember the noise will scaer them and keep them geussing if they might get shot up or not. Also it will give jobs to cowboys who need jobs
— have scientists invent big trappdoor spiders and plant them on Mexico side immigrats are scaered of spiders, dogs to but spiders woud be easier to take care of i think
— i saw on tv solders was putting up bob wire, but dont use bob wire I saw on tv you can put a blanket on bob wire and climb right over it,it was in a movie but it makes sence you could do that
— if you use bob wire smeer it with horse fese haha just kidding dog feses
— ok thats it

I hope this is helpful. America really needs wall so stay stong and make America greater than it was before you was elected. All true Americas support you and not the libtards and commies like Obongo who hate America. God bless andkeep you warm.

A Fan.

ps. Melonia is the hottest first Lady ever haha just saying.

comrade trump spent three hours in iraq

I was actually prepared to give Comrade Trump some credit. I mean, he actually visited troops in a theater of combat operations. Yes, that’s something every POTUS in recent history has done and is expected to do, but let’s face it — nobody really expects Trump to behave like a president anymore. But I believe in giving credit where it’s due, so I found myself in the unusual position of giving Trump props for doing the minimum requirements of his job.

But Jeebus on toast, he had to go and fuck that up. All he had to do was go the al-Asad Air Base, shake a few hands, take a few photos with a few troops, and give a simple speech supporting their mission. Seriously, a high school student could have done that. But Trump? Apparently beyond his ability. He just couldn’t do it.

First, the point of POTUS visiting troops in a combat area is to bolster the morale of the men and women who do the fighting and killing and dying at the Commander-in-Chief’s direction. That’s it. It’s a simple task. It’s NOT even remotely a venue for partisan politics. And it should NEVER be about money.

Here’s one of the early comments in Trump’s speech to the troops:

“America shouldn’t be doing the fighting for every nation on Earth not being reimbursed. If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price — and sometimes that’s also a monetary price — so we’re not the suckers of the world. We’re no longer the suckers, folks.”

The US military isn’t a mercenary army. They’re not for hire. We don’t tell other nations we’ll protect their interests (and our interests) only IF they can reimburse us. The US military isn’t a for-profit enterprise. Comrade Trump doesn’t seem to understand that.

Then he moved on to domestic partisan politics.

We want to have strong borders in the United States. The Democrats don’t want to let us have strong borders — only for one reason. You know why? Because I want it. … You know, when you think about it, you’re fighting for borders in other countries, and they don’t want to fight — the Democrats — for the border of our country.

First, Trump makes it about him. Democrats are opposed to building a wall along the southern border just to spite him. Second, he accuses his political opponents of not wanting to protect the nation. Turning a morale-building mission into a political campaign speech is despicable.

That said, I must say I have no problem with Trump signing MAGA hats while at the air base, providing the Trump campaign didn’t bring them or distribute them. I don’t think the criticism Trump received for hat-signing is justified. If troops ask him to sign their hat, he should damn well sign their hat.

Near the end of his speech, Trump flat out lied to the troops. He lied to them in a typical Trump self-aggrandizing way.

“You just got one of the biggest pay raises you’ve ever received… You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years — more than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one. I got you a big one. They had plenty of people that came up. They said, ‘You know, we could make it smaller. We could make it 3 percent. We could make it 2 percent.’ I said, ‘No. Make it 10 percent. Make it more than 10 percent.'”

They’ll get a 2.8% pay raise next year, which is about average. It’s certainly not the biggest raise the military has ever received. They’ve been given a raise every year for decades. It’s not enough, of course. It’s not even close to enough. I’d applaud Trump if he actually DID fight for a meaningful pay increase for the troops, especially enlisted personnel. But he hasn’t.

And if all that wasn’t bad enough, Trump and his communications team inadvertently outed a covert Navy SEAL team. The locations of special forces units deployed abroad is classified, and showing the faces of spec ops troops is generally a violation of operational security. Trump’s team put their faces on Twitter. Twitter, for fuck’s sake.

Oh, and one more thing (there’s always one more thing when Comrade Trump is involved): he didn’t bother to meet with the Prime Minister or any Iraqi officials while he was there. He apparently doesn’t understand that US troops are stationed in Iraq with the permission of the Iraqi government. President Obama worked out an arrangement with the Iraqis; the Trump administration has been attempting to negotiate a similar long-term arrangement since the spring…without success so far. Snubbing Iraqi officials isn’t going to help. Some Iraqi officials are now calling for all US troops to be removed.

Comrade Trump was in Iraq for a total of about three hours. In that time he offended the Iraqi government, outed a covert SEAL team, lied to the troops, and turned a simple morale-building mission into a political campaign event.

Three hours. The thing is, I don’t think any of these fuck-ups were deliberate. They were all just the result of a president who doesn’t understand his job and is incapable of carrying it out. This should have been an easy gig for Trump and his team. But in three hours they managed to create a monumental clusterfuck.

I guess we should be grateful it was only three hours.

a midvinterblot’s tale

The luck of the king is the luck of the land, according to the Ynglings, the most ancient of Viking dynasties. The sad truth of this can be seen in the story of King Visbur and his son Domald — which is appropriate given that today is the winter solstice.

Visbur married the daughter of Aude the Rich. Her name is unknown to history since the value of women was only measured by their ability to give birth to sons. She gave Visbur two sons: Ond and Gisle. At some point Visbur put his wife aside and married another, whose name is also forgotten. The new wife gave him another son, Domald (sometimes called Dómaldi or Dómaldr), who was declared Visbur’s heir.

Ond, Gisle, and their poor nameless mother objected. The two sons went to Visbur to protest, but were rejected. Their mother then cursed Domald with ósgæssa — ill-luck or bad fortune. Ond and Gisle took what today would be called a pro-active approach. This is how the skald Snorri Sturluson described it:

Eptir þat sömnuðu þeir liði, ok kómu at Vísbur um nótt á úvart ok brendu hann inni.
Thereafter they collected men, came unexpectedly in the night on Visbur, and burned him in his house.

The crown passed to Domald, whose curse of ill-luck was compounded by an exaggerated sense of self-worth coupled with a distinct lack of competence. Domald’s reign was disastrous. Crops withered and failed, livestock became sickly and died. So on the winter solstice, at the time of midvinterblot — the annual sacrifice — Domald had his priests sacrifice oxen instead of sheep. The greater the sacrifice, the more it is appreciated by the gods.

It didn’t work. The crops still failed, the livestock grew thinner, old folks and children starved. At the next midvinterblot Domald had his priests sacrifice a few peasants instead of oxen.

An early version of the Sacrifice of Domald.

It didn’t work. The fields of rye and barley gave paltry yields, the hay and timothy needed to feed the livestock died before it could be harvested, the swine and cattle wasted away. So as the winter solstice and midvinterblot approached:

…a great multitude of Swedes came to Upsalir; and now the chiefs held consultations with each other, and all agreed that the times of scarcity were on account of their king Domald, and they resolved to offer him for good seasons, and to assault and kill him, and sprinkle the stalle of the gods with his blood. And they did so.

And they did so. Snorri Sturluson assures us the crops and livestock then flourished, and all were happy.

Domald dies by bloody arms,
Raised not by foes in war’s alarms
Raised by his Swedish liegemen’s hand,
To bring good seasons to the land.

Carl Larsson’s ‘Midvinterblot’ depicting the sacrifice of Domald.

We shouldn’t read anything into the similarity between the names Domald and Donald. Nor should we consider the blood oblation of midvinterblot as anything other than a metaphor for a meaningful sacrifice. But given recent events, and the promise of more chaos, upheaval, and pandemonium to come, I think it’s past time for Congressional Republicans to begin the ritual necessary to remove our own ill-fated, star-crossed Donald from power.

The luck of king, the Ynglings told us, is the luck of the land. And Comrade Donald is bad luck all around. For the good of the nation and its people, Donald Trump needs to go.

700 days

Today is Comrade Donald J. Trump’s 700th day as President of These United States. And I am completely exhausted. A lot of us (well, most of us, if you look at the popular vote totals) were pretty certain he was going to be a bad president, but I don’t think anybody expected him to be so thoroughly and consistently awful. A lot of us (well, some of us) hoped that once he grasped the nature of the job Trump would at least try to do the job well. I mean, we all benefit as a nation when the president — even if we don’t like him — succeeds.

But fuck me with a chainsaw, we can’t go a single day without a couple of scandals that would sink any other presidency. The sheer number and scale of Comrade Trump’s cascading daily outrages is staggering.

Today, for example, we learn that North Korea (you remember…Trump and Kim Jong Un ‘fell in love’ in Singapore and Trump happily reported on Twitter that “everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”) isn’t going to denuclearize itself. I don’t think anybody but Trump actually thought they would, but now it’s official. The president got played by a third-rate dictator. That’s this morning’s horrorshow; we have time for a couple more after lunch.

 

Yesterday we learned that candidate Trump had signed…wait, do you remember when Trump said he had no business deals at all with Russia? Then he said he’d looked at a development deal in Moscow but decided against it before he became a candidate. Then he said he’d planned a major development deal in Moscow and discussions had continued while he was campaigning, but nothing had come of it. Then he admitted he’d pursued the major development deal, but hadn’t signed anything. Well, yesterday we learned he’d actually signed a letter of intent to develop the deal in Moscow. This is a consistent pattern for Trump. When caught lying, tell another lie, followed by still more lies.

Yesterday Trump also decided to pull US troops out of Syria. He’d discussed this with his boy Vlad Putin and with Turkish president Erdogan. But he didn’t bother consulting his own Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. Or the Department of Defense, or the State Department, or the National Security Council, or members of Congress. He just went on Twitter and announced it, saying ISIS had been defeated (which probably comes as a surprise to ISIS, since there are still around fifteen thousand ISIS troops fighting in Syria). This withdrawal effectively delivers Syria entirely to Russian influence.

Also yesterday, the Trump administration decided to lift sanctions imposed by the US Treasury on Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch. Deripaska, who has been described as “Putin’s favorite industrialist”, is also the guy who ‘loaned’ Trump’s former campaign manager and convicted felon Paul Manafort ten million dollars.

And the day before that? Trump was forced to close the so-called Trump Foundation after the Attorney General of New York found the charity had been used by the Trump family as a sort of slush fund for personal use. The AG noted “a shocking pattern of illegality,” including “willful and repeated…unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign.” This happened after Trump’s first National Security Adviser was due to be sentenced for lying to the FBI about being an “unregistered agent of a foreign country” but before we learned that Russia had implemented a disinformation campaign against Special Counsel Robert Mueller. And, of course, yesterday the Republican National Committee announced it would merge with Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign and become a single entity — an unprecedented move that would have shocked the news media and sparked Congressional investigations two years ago. Two days ago it was just a footnote scandal.

This happens every fucking day now — scandal after outrage after malfeasance after incompetence after scandal. And every day it seems to be accelerating. Seven hundred days of this. It’s no wonder the entire nation is exhausted and frazzled and just wants to have a quiet beer someplace with friends and maybe go a full day without another two or three crises, is that too much to ask?

a klingon who thinks like a vulcan

Yesterday, in another venue, after Comrade Trump’s fixer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, I made this comment:

Robert Mueller is like a Klingon trained to think like a Vulcan.

Okay, that’s pretty nerdy. What I meant is that Mueller is approaching the Trump-Russia investigation with savage intensity harnessed by terrifyingly cold logic. It’s not just that Mueller is racking up so many guilty pleas and convictions, it’s also the totality of his control over the case. Consider these two things as proof of that control.

First, the plea itself was a surprise to everybody but Cohen and Mueller’s staff. Nobody knew this was going to happen until shortly before Cohen showed up in the courtroom. That’s astonishing. Keeping any secret in Washington, DC is hard. Keeping a secret in one of the most important criminal investigations in the history of the US, when every news agency and every political or criminal reporter on the East Coast is trying to uncover that secret, should be almost impossible. But Mueller’s team is disciplined and professional. They don’t leak.

Robert Mueller about to perform a Vulcan synaptic pattern displacement.

Second, buried in section seven of Cohen’s plea arrangement is this line:

The Government and your client reserve the right to describe fully, both orally and in writing, to the sentencing judge, the nature and seriousness of your client’s misconduct, including any misconduct not described in the charges to which your client is pleading guilty.

Why is this important? Because while Mueller is required by law to submit a report at the conclusion of his investigation, the Attorney General (or the Acting Attorney General in this case) isn’t required to make the report public. It’s entirely possible (and lots of folks think it’s likely) that Acting AG Whitaker would seal the report. Keep it confidential and out of the view of the public.

But with this provision in the plea arrangement, Mueller has protected his ability to let the public know what he discovered in the course of his investigation. If the report itself gets stifled, Mueller and/or his staff can read it out loud in the courtroom. They’re not taking any chances; they’ve been making a case and they want that case to be heard.

Klingon ruthlessness directed by Vulcan reason and logic. If you’re a target of Mueller’s investigation, that’s a terrifying combination. If you’re a good citizen, it’s a comfort.

a certain regard for audacity

Okay, I know this is going to sound weird. But I have a certain regard for Melania Trump’s red Christmas trees. Don’t get me wrong–they’re horrible. But they’re also bizarrely beautiful. If we saw those crimson trees in a movie with subtitles, outside of the context of Christmas, they could win awards for set design.

But what I really appreciate about those trees is Melania’s deliberately in-your-face approach to holiday decoration. She had to know how ordinary folks and the media would respond to them, but that didn’t dissuade her. It’s as if Melania Trump is saying, “You make fun of me? You mock me? Pffft, your opinion means nothing. I will not shrink away. I will cover your Christmas trees in the blood of innocents. I will create in the hallways of your presidential palace a nightmare so hellish it can never be cleansed. I will crush your soul through fashion. This I will do to your Christmas, and though you may weep and rend your clothes, there is nothing…nothing…you can do to stop me. I will have my revenge; you will look into my narrow eyes and cower on your knees before me.”

Comrade Trump, of course, is a buffoon, but Melania is not. She has the elegance and audacity of a Bond villain. Trump may shout and threaten and bluster; he could destroy the nation as much through accident as intent. But Melania would set fire to the entire world with cold, casual contempt. She’d cut your throat with exquisite precision using a Danish-designed scalpel, then she’d kick you once–just once–very carefully and methodically, directly in the balls for bleeding on her Christian Louboutins. She may be terrible, but she’s terrible with deliberation and a flair for the dramatic.

The thing is, she can’t burn the world. She lacks access to real power, for which we should be grateful. She is mocked and scorned and ridiculed, and her only weapons of reprisal are fashion and set design. I can’t find it in me to like her or feel much in the way of sorrow for her; to some extent she’s earned the mocking and scorn and ridicule. But at the same time, I feel compassion for her. She made a deal with the devil, and I suspect it’s cost her more than she bargained for.

In a weird way, I respect the fact that she’s fighting back. There may not be anything very Christmasy about those red firs, but they’re delicious as a gesture of defiance. I only wish she’d made her walk down that hallway while drinking from a red Starbucks cup.