Thursday, February 1, 2018

State of Our Disunion

I don't know about you but this is how I've been feeling.

Politics has become the new ball and chain.

Who'd have believed it would surpass romance?

I couldn't stomach viewing the State of the Union address by the greatest President evah, but one of my buddies did, and he did a much better job of evaluating it than many I've seen so far.

I watched as much of Trump’s speech to the Reichstag State of the Union address as my forebrain, my common sense, and my generally good morals would allow. Trump’s lies didn’t bother me half as much as his open pitches to the worst, most reactionary, most fascistic sentiments in American life:  We love our police. We love our military. We love Jesus, and we love patriotic little boys who place flags at the graves of our soldiers. You’d better not be one of those traitors who doesn’t stand for the national anthem, or one of those countries who votes against us at the U.N., or one of those brown-skinned freeloaders who gets here through chain migration and drags your M-13 affiliated grandmas and grandpas with you. If you are, we’re comin’ for you. This is one nation under god, and we’re gonna build a fuckin’ wall to prove it.
And this was done with the full, enthusiastic support of the entire Republican establishment. There was the beaming, grinning visage of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who just received $500,000 from Charles Koch as a reward for delivering on tax cuts; and there was the approving, creepily repressed grin of Vice President Mike Pence, who wants to ban the burning of the flag and believes fetal tissue from abortions should have burials, and who derides non-coercive interrogation techniques (i.e., not torturous) as “Oprah Winfrey methods.” They all clapped and clapped. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has gloated that this was the “best year” for conservatives in his entire congressional career.
There is not one single, solitary Republican who will go against Trump, not one, not he-man Lindsey Graham, not lovely Miss Moderate Susan Collins, not dying Sunday talk-show ‘statesman’ John McCain. Trump has sprinkled just enough sugar around to ensure their craven compliance, and the venal little cowards are all too happy to oblige. “How eager they are to be slaves,” the Emperor Tiberius frequently said upon leaving the Roman Senate. Or, in the debased vernacular of our own grotesque reality TV dictator, “What a bunch a fuckin’ losers.”
We are one stock market crash, one war, or one terrorist attack away from this collection of Christian ghouls, reactionaries, grifters, militarists and thugs from taking over completely. How do I know? Easy:  There is no opposition.
The Democrats, apparently thinking that the best defense against plutocracy is aristocracy, dredged up a fifth-rate Kennedy whom nobody ever heard of to low soothing cliches in our ears about what wonderful people we are, how nice we are, how tough we are, how resilient we are, what survivors we are, and how we can do anything we want when we put our minds to it and join together. Words like “heartland” and “audacity” sprang mechanically from his lips, and by the time he busted out the alliteration (“Mississippi to Massachusetts,” “teacher in Tulsa”), I was convinced I was hearing the work of one of Obama’s speech writers on Thorazine.
One could see the handiwork of Democratic operatives making sure that all the appropriate groups were duly mentioned, all the correct positions were duly taken, and all the appropriate boxes were duly checked:  Struggling rural communities? check. Opioid abuse? check. Coal miners and struggling single moms? check. Empty criticism about our rigged system? check.  Obligatory stab at the Russians? check, check, and double check — this is, after all, America, where there is always a wicked foreigner plotting to ravish our goodness.
There was not a single memorable phrase, not a single original thought, and not a hint of genuine vision or conviction, just a dull litany of “issues” delivered with all the inspiration of a Sunday school teacher giving the eulogy for the local insurance salesman, capped off with the words you say when there’s nothing left to say, nothing left to hope for, and nothing left to do except go home and cry:  Have faith. 
I couldn’t help thinking about how nifty he would look in a pink knit cap the next time the Democrats decide to make another bold stand against sexual harassment.
If this is the best we can do, you’d better renew your passport and get the hell out now.
- Bad Attitudes

The Ultimate Mega Guide To Understanding Trump's State Of The Union Address Tonight

Watch this incredible video that will make you feel a lot better about Trump's State of the Union address.

None of it mattered, not one fucking bit. He didn't write the speech, didn't know any of the substance behind it and can't take any of the credit given how atrocious his first year in office has been.

From No More Mr. Nice Blog:

The speech didn't work. Apart from the deplorables, the plutocrats, and the pols who gull the former on behalf of the latter, nobody fell for it.

The Rude Pundit was even more derisive (The State of the Union Is Nasty, Brutish, and White):

. . . The savage racism didn't end there. Democrats actually audibly jeered when Trump said of immigration, "Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives," using the term "chain migration" instead of "family reconciliation."
First off, it's a complete fucking lie. Second, Trump's goddamn mother came to this country at age 19 after her sisters were already here. You got that? Donald fuckin' Trump exists because of "chain migration." It gets worse. Trump said, "The United States is a compassionate nation. We are proud that we do more than any other country anywhere in the world to help the needy, the struggling, and the underprivileged all over the world" before saying, essentially, "But fuck all that noise. We gotta care about our poors." Putting aside that the United States doesn't come close to doing more than any country for refugees and others, let's go back to Mama Trump. She arrived from Scotland in May 1930, when the fuckin' Great Depression was dream-raping America. Mama Trump came here because the economy of Scotland was fucked and there was no work. And what did Mama Trump do when she got here? Did she say, "Oh, no, please, hire Americans before me"? Fuck no.She got jobs as a maid and a nanny.
In other words, Donald Trump's mother was an immigrant who literally took jobs from poor citizens. But I'm sure it's okay because she was from a white shithole country and not a dark one.
On it went, with Trump deliberately tossing applause bombs for the Republicans that he knew the Democrats would stay seated for, things like explaining "why we proudly stand for the National Anthem," or that black unemployment is at a low. You can see the ads where Nancy Pelosi won't stand when Trump mentions the flag or some such shit.
On it went, with Trump hoping to undermine the civil service protections of government employees and make them apparatchiks to the whims of the administration:  "I call on Congress to empower every Cabinet Secretary with the authority to reward good workers and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people." Somewhere in Hell, Mussolini called across the shit-and-razor pool to Hitler and said, "Get a load of this motherfucker." Stalin, getting burnt to a crisp in the flame-thrower tanning booth, gave a shaky thumbs up.
On it went, and it was like the goddamn thing would never end, with Trump lying about the auto industry, lying about coal mining, lying about trade deals, lying about funding infrastructure, lying about regulations holding back businesses, lying, lying, lying. George W. Bush was a lying son of a bitch, but at least the lies were mixed in with truth. With Trump, it's lies to support other lies, lies as the foundation and lies as the decoration, the extravagant dispersal of lies for the sake of just fucking lying, just for shits and giggles, just because no one who matters to these evil pricks and cunts would ever call them out for lying, and, if they do, well, they can be lied about, too.

And then there was the real State of the Union:

Bernie Sanders’ Response To The State Of The Union Address (Including Full Transcript)

From the Mahablog:

Here’s an annotated State of the Union fact-checking Trump’s remarks. Politifact also rated the speech mostly false. It’s telling that most of the headlines are reverting back to issues surrounding The Memo and the Mueller investigation.
In WaPo’s “winners and losers” column today, one of the losers was “the truth.”
The reason there’s a State of the Union address is that the Constitution stipulates in Article II, Section 3  that the president “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” The first SOTU address was delivered by George Washington. But in the 19th century, many presidents sent a written text rather than speak to Congress in person. It wasn’t really until the 20th century that the SOTU became an annual whoop-dee-doo speech that was supposed to be significant to the whole nation, somehow. And a few SOTUs have been genuinely memorable. But it’s really kind of pointless now, isn’t it?

Sardonicky places the cap on the Tylenol bottle:

State of the Bunion, With Heel Spurs

Since much of Donald Trump's speech to the Congressional Joint last night consisted of his own hands, Mussolini-like, clapping for himself, and his  frequent pauses to look around and see who was applauding him, the reviews saying this was one of the longest harangues of its type are misleading.
Before I get into the rancid meat of the speech, let's get the fashion sidebar out of the way first. Paul Ryan wore a suitably lighter shade of blue tie than Trump's, although he did botch his own opening line: "I preven-- present the president of the United States!"

First Lady Melania chose the Hillary Clinton nominating convention look:  a blinding white pantsuit. There are already plenty of articles on the possible cultural symbolism and hidden meanings of this choice of couture, so I won't bother. As I previously reported, the Democratic ladies borrowed their style from the Golden Globe ladies, and wore funereal black. Nobody shouted "Shut up!" or otherwise disrupted the spectacle - which is, after all, the political equivalent of Hollywood's own multi-part orgy of theatrical self-congratulation. There were one or two nonverbal outbursts that sounded like projectile vomiting, which I swear came from my TV and not from me or my pet goldfish.
Now, to the speech. If I were asked to give it a title, it'd be a toss-up between "It's Always Sunny When You Got Somebody To Hate" or  "It'll Take a Trillion-Dollar Military Industrial Complex To Crush One Little Latino Gang From Long Guyland."

No way, as the New York Times cheerfully posited in its usual insane deference to the "occasion" of the S.O.T.U. if not the man, was this an appeal for "unity,"  unless a more cohesive jelly mold of fear and hatred was what Trump had in mind.  When read rather than listened to, in fact, it sounds like many bullshitting presidential victory laps of hope which came before it.
Here's my interpretation (his actual words are in italicized (underlined) quotes.)

America is a lot like Dante's trilogy, folks. There's both a heaven and a hell and maybe a purgatory, but I've never really been one for centrism, so I'll keep maniacally spinning from hell to heaven and back again throughout this diatribe. If there is anything I'm a master at, it's keeping people so seriously off-balance they won't know what's really hitting them until it's way too late.

Ordinary people look out for ordinary people. Because America is a bootstrapping nation which hasn't had a safety net for so long there's no need to even talk about it in this speech.

So, thank you, Mr. Helicopter Rescuer in the audience, for being a human prop next to the White Pantsuit Supermodel, so we don't have to talk about how the government has turned its back on the people of Puerto Rico and "the Harvey."

Thank you, too, Mr. Firefighter dude for rescuing 60 people from the Inferno in California. It only goes to prove that just because you're trapped in a raging fire you don't necessary die from it. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mr. Congresscritter Steve Scalise, who proved that just because you get shot along with many other people every single day in America, you can come out of your own trial by fire looking just fantastic, 10 years younger in fact, all because of our great health care system. (Scalise jumps to his feet to prove it and he even blows a two-handed macho Hollywood-style kiss to the president. Because gun ownership for anybody and everybody is what America is truly all about. This happy-ending shooting proved we are one great big happy country-family.

"If there is an opportunity, we seize it." Because predation and greed are what we're all about.

Even though wages are stagnating, I'll do like all my predecessors did and insist they're rising. Plus, since I can't get Jay-Z calling me a germ out of my head, I'll dig in a little deeper and claim that black people have never had it better. Also Wall Street is booming, which is great for the pension accounts it's appropriated until the bubble bursts and somebody who is not a billionaire loses their shirt, their house, and maybe even an eye.

So anyway, here's a shout-out to Steve and Sandy, who own a small factory in Ohio.  Also to their black employee, an all-American welder who is a great welder because his bosses told me he was. You think I personally have the time to look at his welding? So that's another racist dog-whistle completed, sending the message that black people are either uppity Jay-Zs, or not hard-working enough to score a seat next to the White Pantsuit Goddess. How can I be a racist when I highlight a black guy on my special night? 
"If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything." This is a subtle dig at the 800,000 Dreamers, in the vein of critics who counter the Black Lives Matter Movement with "all lives matter." Trump hammers down on this "dream" theme several more times during his speech.

"In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life. Our motto is 'in God we trust.'” (At this point the camera pans to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is caught applauding this line as robotically as any spellbound person who has ever been positively conditioned throughout life to loaded buzzwords and thus avoid thinking of how this country has always used the tropes of God and family to inflict a whole lot of Infernos both here and abroad.)

"And we celebrate our police, our military, and our amazing veterans as heroes who deserve our total and unwavering support." If you question endless war for profit, or complain about police brutality, you're not a real (white) American.

On that Orwellian note, here's another shout-out to a human prop. Young 12-year-old Preston up there, sitting right next to the White Pantsuit Goddess, started a movement to plant 40,000 flags on the graves of soldiers. Because unlike flowers, flags never die. "Young patriots like Preston teach all of us about our civic duty as Americans. Preston’s reverence for those who have served our Nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem." Naturally, this was a dig at the mainly black athletes who have taken a knee in protest of racism at football games. Nothing like using a nice little kid as your racist cudgel, eh, Trumpolini?  
. . . "All Americans deserve accountability and respect – and that is what we are giving them. So tonight, I call on the Congress to empower every Cabinet Secretary with the authority to reward good workers – and to remove Federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people." Naturally, as the Underminer-in-Chief, this new rule would not apply to Donald J. Trump. But it'd be nice to see Congress take him at his word, just for fun. 
Now it's on to the manufacture of more gas-guzzling, fuel-inefficient cars to keep the wheels of Capitalism grinding on until the whole planet erupts into one Dante's Inferno after another. 
. . . Also, Trump has directed his new HHS secretary, fresh from the profiteering pharma industry, to "fix the injustice of high drug prices."  He might mean the injustice to the drug industry of laws against price-fixing, which prevent them from conspiring to raise and fix prices to even higher levels than they are already. 
On to infrastructure improvement, a meaningless suggestion which seems to come up at every S.O.T.U. speech. Private corporations will not sink any money into such a thing, because it's risky and the returns are slower than would be gleaned by simply gambling with customers' money and making more money off of money than off of things. And no president in recent memory has ever suggested that public works projects actually be totally public. Where there is no profit motive, there is just no American way.
. . . Finally we get to the real rancid offal of the speech:  Keep All Latino Furners Out with our big, beautiful fantastic border wall. To help him make his point, Trump points to a couple more human props whose children were killed by the notorious MS-13 Gang on Long Guyland. And then, using the old divide and conquer propaganda technique, Trump wags an approving digit at a Latino ICE agent who is patriotic enough to go after his own ethnic group.

Now that he got that out of the way, he doubles down on ending the visa lottery and thus barring immigrants from what he infamously called "shithole countries." And he again lies about so-called chain migration allowing any immigrants' distant relatives to get a free ticket into the country.

Like his did.

Read the entire essay here.

Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert are always informative about our coming financial demise. And get in a few laughs at our expense.

Lee Camp at "Redacted Tonight" informs us (as if we hadn't already figured this one out) that Puerto Rico's energy matrix has been put up for sale to the highest bidder (the privatization after catastrophe strikes foreseen in Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine" and Rahm Emanuel's "Let no crisis go to waste by neoliberals" or some such).

Lucky them to be the first, huh?

The line forms to the right.

And one more fun piece from our friend at Bad Attitudes:

He’s bold, authentic, and always true to himself. He’s a gentleman too, but that doesn’t stop him from being tenacious in pursuit of his vision. Like Henry Ford and Steve Jobs, he grips it and rips it, and he always, always, always thinks outside of the box.
Oh, did I mention his full name? It’s Wyatt Ingraham Koch, son of Frederick Koch, nephew to Charles and David Koch, hence heir to one of the largest fortunes in America (if not the world). And he’s about to get a great big fat tax cut that you’re going to pay for, courtesy of Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and their responsible “moderate” Republican colleagues, the ones who establishment Democrats and Beltway pundits habitually cream over, like John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins. They chose Wyatt Ingraham Koch over you. They’ve decided that his personal, corporate and inheritance taxes should all be lowered at your expense. It’s nothing personal. That’s just how they roll. You came from the wrong sperm. Better luck next life.
Oh well, look at the bright side. These tax cuts will stimulate production at his company, so there will be plenty of those bold and eclectic shirts floating around the boardrooms, yachts and discotecas of Palm Beach.
. . . At this point, I could go on an extended rant about how inbred aristocracies always end up producing feeble and degenerate offspring, pampered and dimwitted mediocrities who are completely detached from reality and a have hyper-inflated sense of their own abilities, people like, for example, Wyatt Ingraham, Jared and Ivanka, Nero and Caligula, and, of course, Eric Trump and Don Jr., who like to shoot exotic animals and chop off their body parts for souvenirs. I could do that, but I don’t need to. The existence of Watt Ingraham Koch makes further ranting unnecessary. The argument is made, the thesis is proven. He speaks for himself, as do his shirts.
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