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.

cheese will be provided

— Do you really think Comrade Trump will be impeached?
— I do.
— Really?
— Really. He’s going down.
— No, I mean do you really actually believe they’ll impeach him?
— He’s totally going down. No question.
— Okay. It’s just that…
— He’s going down like the Titanic.
— Yeah, you say that, but…
— Down like Betamax.
— Like what?
— Exactly.
— So you actually believe Trump will be…
— Down like Google+
— Holy crap.
— Down like a nine pound round of Double Gloucester cheese on Cooper’s Hill.
— …
— You know…the annual cheese rolling festival and massacre?
— No idea what you’re talking about.
— C’mon, it’s the most famous cheese rolling event in the world.
— Cheese rolling. Cheese rolling? What the fuck? Cheese rolling?
— Yeah. It’s an…
Cheese? Cheese rolling?
— Every spring for the last, oh, few hundred years the good and semi-sober people of Brockworth in Gloucestershire have held a sort of contest in which they roll a cheese down Cooper’s Hill.
— That’s it?
— Well, no. People chase the cheese down the hill. The first survivor at the bottom wins.
— Wins what?
— The cheese, you idiot.
— When you say ‘survivor’…
— It’s a steep hill. People fall. And tumble and roll and break bones.
— …
— Also spectators might get whacked by the cheese as it rolls and bounces down the hill.
— Hit by a cheese?
— A nine-pound round of Double Gloucester can top out at about seventy miles per hour. Cheese like that could kill a person. These are murderous cheeses.
— You’re making this up, aren’t you.
— How dare you!
— Why would anybody chase a cheese down a hill?
— Probably some sort of ancient primitive pagan fertility thing.
— That’s ridiculous.
— Dude, they’re British.
— Oh, right. Yeah, then it makes some sense. And people really do this? And they really get hurt?
— Watch this.

— Jesus suffering fuck.
— I know, right?
— That’s insane.
— Well, there’s cheese involved. And possibly alcohol.
— …
— …
— I totally want to do this.
— Impeach Trump?
— Fuck Trump. I want to chase the cheese. When does this happen?
— May 27th, five days from today. Around noon. Cooper’s Hill, Brockworth, Gloucestershire. Cheese and medical care are provided.
— This is why England will always be a great nation.

classic trump

Comrade Trump’s latest tantrum/threat is quintessential Trump. It’s the distillation of all things Trump times five. He’s decided to ‘explore’ avenues for removing the security clearances of half a dozen senior national security and intelligence officials who’d served in the Obama administration. We’re talking about John Brennan (former CIA director), Michael Hayden (former CIA director), Susan Rice (former national security adviser), James Clapper (former director of national intelligence), James Comey (former FBI director), and Andrew McCabe (former FBI deputy director).

What makes this classic Trump? I’m a tell you.

  1. It’s petty, malicious, and vindictive. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, with a straight face, claimed these folks have (and I’m not making this up) have “politicize(d) and in some cases monetize(d) their public service and security clearances” by “making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influenced by Russia against the president.” Basically, they’ve criticized Comrade Trump and his handling of…well, just about everything in regard to national security. So they must be punished.
  2. It’s mostly pointless. None of these folks currently attend national security briefings. Revoking their security clearances will have absolutely no impact on the daily lives of most of them. As far as I can tell, only Hayden holds a position on the board of a private sector company that technically require a security clearance, which means he’ll likely lose some income. But in general, this move is like taking away their access to lockers in a gym they no longer attend.
  3. It’s incompetent. At least two of the people Trump wants to deny a security clearance have already lost their security clearances. When Comey and McCabe were fired (by Trump) from the FBI they automatically lost their clearances. The only reason they’re included on the list is because a) they’ve criticized Trump and b) nobody in the Trump administration could be bothered to check a few basic facts before announcing a plan of action.
  4. It’s inconsistent. Trump claims these folks have politicized and monetized their clearances, so they should have those clearances revoked. Yet his own former national security adviser (Gen. Michael Flynn, remember him?) retained his security clearance despite the fact that he stood on stage during the Republican National Convention and led the crowd in cheering “Lock her up!” He even kept his clearance after Trump learned he was under investigation for his dealings with Russia — the same dealings which led to his firing. Now that is some serious politicizing and monetizing of a security clearance. And lawdy, the Flynn scandal is small beans compared to that of Jared Kushner, who was given access to highly classified intel despite having to ‘correct’ his clearance application four times because he ‘forgot’ to include dealings with foreign officials, including…yeah, that’s right, Russians.
  5. It’s actually harmful to national security. Among the many detrimental aspects of the Trump administration, one of the most deleterious is its casual destruction of institutional knowledge by removing experienced people from positions of authority for political or ideological reasons. It’s bad enough in agencies that handle domestic concerns (like education and health care), but it’s a catastrophic loss in agencies that are concerned with international affairs. Past administrations have always relied on the expertise and experience of the administrations they replaced. Trump only relies on people loyal to Trump.
  6. It’s being implemented in a swarm of lies. This is no surprise. Comrade Trump seems unable to do anything without lying about something.

Top contender for Most Blackmailable Public Figure.

So, classic Trump. A mean-spirited, amateurish, contradictory move that not only won’t accomplish what he hopes it will, but will actually damage the nation — all accompanied by lies.

What’s most ironic about this is the fact that Comrade Trump, with his dodgy financial deals and a very long string of extramarital affairs, almost certainly wouldn’t be able to obtain any sort of security clearance at all if he weren’t POTUS. If there was a contest for Most Blackmailable Public Figure, Trump would be considered a front-runner.

This is the world turned upside down. And backwards. While drunk. And in heels. With one heel missing.

 

putin’s got something on trump

I really don’t know how else to explain Comrade Trump’s contemptible display in Helsinki. I lack the conspiracy theory gene, but what happened yesterday is most easily explained by the conspiracy theory model (nothing happens by accident, nothing is quite what it seems to be on the surface, everything is connected). Even if we take the most skeptical approach, it’s hard NOT to arrive at this conclusion: Putin’s got something on Trump.

We’ve got Comrade Trump, a president whose licentious personal life and shady business practices make him singularly vulnerable to blackmail. We’ve got Vlad Putin, a former professional intelligence officer running the nation that basically invented the notion of kompromat. We’ve got the former insisting on a private one-on-one meeting with the latter — a meeting without the normal complement of aides and advisors, a meeting in which there is nobody taking formal notes, a meeting that lasted over two hours. And we’ve got Trump appearing with Putin immediately after that unprecedented meeting, and essentially denigrating and dismissing his own intelligence and law enforcement communities while praising Putin and Russia. And all this takes place AFTER Trump spent a few days shredding NATO, which is the sort of thing that would give Putin wet dreams.

This is Jeebus Level James Bond villain stuff. Seriously, if you submitted this in a novel manuscript or a screenplay, it would be laughed at as too implausible.

“Not a puppet. Not a puppet. Okay, puppet.”

I don’t know what Putin has on Trump. It could, I suppose, be the infamous alleged pee tape, but that just seems…no, okay, that does actually seem possible. Improbable, but certainly within the realm of possibility. It’s more likely, though, that what Putin has on Trump is something criminal rather than merely salacious.

I’m inclined to go with evidence of money laundering and criminal conspiracy. It’s not as personally humiliating as a pee tape, but it’s got the advantage of being solidly criminal. And prosecutable (my spellchecker insists that’s not a word, but my spellchecker can go fuck itself). Happily, money laundering and criminal conspiracy are exactly the sort of things Special Counsel Mueller’s team is designed to investigate.

Again, I can’t think of any other reasonable way to explain what happened in Helsinki. I think we’re sort of forced into the conspiracy theory mode in which the conspiracy isn’t only possible but probable. None of this is happening by accident, none of it is quite what it seems to be on the surface, and absolutely everything — all of it — is connected.

a much different president

Okay, let me get this straight. Comrade Trump (noted author of How to inherit Millions from Your Daddy and Still Go Bankrupt Like Half a Dozen Times and POTUS) met with Kim Jong Un (noted evil dictator, fratricidal rocket fetishist, and open friend of Dennis Rodman) in what journalists called a ‘summit’ and Trump called ‘another great historic deal which many people say is what I do better than anybody else ever, I can tell you that, believe me.’

Here’s what Kim got by meeting with the former leader of the free world:

  • Legitimacy as a world leader.
  • A weaker relationship between the U.S. and South Korea and Japan .
  • A cessation of U.S.-South Korean military exercises.
  • A rift between the U.S. and NATO.
  • A free ride on human rights violations.

Here’s what Trump got by meeting with a brutal dictator who has starved his people in order to afford more rockets:

  • A one page document re-affirming the same vague commitment to denuclearization that DPRK has made seventeen times since 1985.
  • A promise to return military remains from the Korean War.

It’s not exactly bupkis. Let’s call it it bupkis-lite. I mean, it’s nice that DPRK has agreed in principle to return the dead bodies of U.S. troops killed half a century ago. But we probably could have got them to agree to that in exchange for, say, letting them buy a bit more grain to feed their people (which would also allow U.S. farmers to earn a little extra coin).

Tweedle Dum and Tweedle I Don’t Know What the Fuck.

Still, we’ve got that one page document. Does it include, say, a timetable for denuclearization? Nope, nothing like that. What about a system of verification? Nope, not even hinted at. Maybe a shared definition of what  denuclearization is? No fucking way. But Trump apparently thinks if we show KJU and DPRK a little trust, it’ll all work out.

Here’s a telling example from the post-summit news conference:

Q: Mr. President, the joint statement does not talk about verifiable or irreversible denuclearization. Is that a concession on the part of the United States?

A: No, not at all. If you look at it, it said we are — let’s see here. It will be gone. I don’t think you can be any more plain.

I don’t think you can be any more fucking stupid. It will be gone. A few months ago Comrade told his supporters that ‘Little Rocket Man’ was unstable, a madman who murdered his own people and a serial liar who couldn’t be trusted, so there wasn’t any point in even talking with him. And they agreed. Now, after a couple of hours of photo ops, Trumps says he totally trusts KJU to keep his vague promises. And they agree.

Comrade Trump engaging in the Pull-My-Finger mode of international diplomacy.

If Trump says it, it must be true. Which leads me to another exchange in the news conference:

Q: What do you, President Trump, expect Kim Jong Un to do about the human rights record regarding the North Korean people?

A: They will be doing things. I think he wants to do things. You would be surprised. Very smart. Very good negotiator. Wants to do the right thing. He brought up the fact that in the past they took dialogue or never were like we are which has never been like what has taken place now. They went down the line. Billions of dollars were given and the following day the nuclear program continued. This is a much different time. This is a much different president in all fairness. This is very important to me. This is one of the, perhaps one of the reasons I won.

There you have it. DPRK will be doing things. And let me repeat Trump’s most salient argument. In the past they took dialogue or never were like we are which has never been like what has taken place now.

Nobody could be any more clear than that. Only Comrade Donald J. Trump could have negotiated this deal. This is a much different time, and in all fairness, he’s a much different president.

 

okay, we still have to do something about syria, again

“We HAVE to do something about Syria!”
“Okay. Why?”
“Because the Syrian government used chemical weapons against their own people!”
“Okay. But hasn’t the Syrian government been killing their own people for…wait. Wait a minute. Wait just one goddamn minute. Didn’t we already have this conversation? This exact conversation? Five years ago, didn’t we have this same conversation?”
“Yes. But this time I’m serious!”
“Okay. Has anything changed in the last five years?”
“Yes! We have a new president!”
“Okay. And is he better equipped to handle delicate, highly nuanced, incredibly volatile international situations?”
“Are you fucking crazy? It’s Donald Trump!”
“Okay. So we’re still fucked, then?”
“Yes, that’s correct! Massively fucked! Fucked all around!”
“Okay. And knowing all that, your position is…?”
“We HAVE to do something about Syria!”

in which i confess i was wrong about trump’s cabinet

I was mistaken. In the past I’ve referred to Comrade Trump’s appointments as the Cabinet of Nazgûl. I was wrong.

I mean, it seemed appropriate initially. After all, the Nazgûl were nine men (men, what a surprise) who had “obtained glory and great wealth” in life before succumbing to the dark, corrupt attraction of Sauron’s power. And like the characters in Tolkien’s novel, these men “one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thraldom” of Comrade Trump.

But here’s the thing about the Nazgûl: the reason they were Sauron’s “most terrible servants” was that they were competent. They were good at their jobs. They understood their role, and they fulfilled it professionally. That can’t be said of Trump’s current crop of advisers. These guys would be best described as cartoon villains — except that they have actual power.

I was wrong; this is NOT Comrade Trump’s cabinet.

John Bolton, a certified conspiracy crank who makes Yosemite Sam look like a damned diplomat, is going to be the new national security adviser. This is a guy George W. Bush couldn’t get confirmed as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations despite having a Republican-controlled Senate. This fucking guy has advocated the preemptive bombing of both North Korea AND Iran, because that worked so well in Iraq. This beef-headed motherfucker has publicly suggested the Russian hack of the DNC might have been a false flag operation by the Obama Administration. Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee revealed that this deceitful sonofabitch bullied intelligence analysts into saying Cuba — Cuba, an island nation whose claim to fame is its ability to keep a 1944 Dodge in running order — had developed a sophisticated bio-weapons program. And Comrade Trump thinks it’s a good idea to make this canker-brained bullshit artist his national security adviser — his third in fourteen months.

John Bolton, National Security Adviser in waiting

This is clearly a disastrous decision. Which means it’s perfectly in keeping with Trump’s decision-making process. It’s the same process that resulted in putting Kellyanne Conway in charge of the opioid crisis because…well, who the hell knows why she was put in charge. She was probably in the room at the time.

Is there any good news in Bolton’s appointment? Yeah, sorta kinda. Bolton probably won’t last very long in his position. He draws too much attention, and Trump wants all the attention focused on himself. Also, Bolton criticized Comrade Trump’s handling of Russia, saying, “Trump got to experience Putin looking him in the eyes and lying to him, denying Russian interference in the election.” I can’t imagine Comrade Trump putting up with that sort of talk for any length of time. I suspect Trump will kick him into the canyon in the not too distant future.

The only saving grace of the Trump administration to this point is that Trump is too fucking incompetent, too fucking stupid, too fucking ignorant, and way too fucking uninterested in anything other than himself to do Sauronesque level damage to the nation. We don’t have a Dark Lord; what we have instead is a cheap-ass, shallow gilt tinplate, jumped up Grima Wormtongue — a lying coward who abuses women, steals from others, and kisses Vladimir Saruman’s ass.

Jeebus on toast — you know, this used to be a halfway decent country.