Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Toilet Swordsman Cometh


This is the guy who hid in a toilet stall with a Civil War era sword when the U.S. Capitol was invaded by Trump supporters:

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman of Arkansas hid on a toilet with a sword during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in January, according to a New York Times article published Monday.

 The U.S. House chamber was evacuated Jan. 6 as pro-Trump rioters breached the Capitol. The siege came after former President Donald Trump hosted a rally where he called for his supporters to "fight like hell”against election results and invited them to walk to the Capitol.

After being evacuated, Westerman and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy reportedly hid in McCarthy’s office. But when rioters began breaking into the building, McCarthy’s security detail had him leave Westerman behind.

 “For protection, Mr. Westerman said he commandeered a Civil War sword from an office display, barricaded himself in Mr. McCarthy’s private bathroom and waited out the siege while crouched on the toilet,” The New York Times reported.

During the riot, Westerman tweeted, "Americans will always disagree on politics, but violently storming our nation’s Capitol is absolutely unacceptable. People are getting hurt. Enough."
It is unknown if Westerman was in McCarthy’s bathroom at that point. His spokesperson said he was unavailable on Tuesday to comment on The New York Times' report.

I really don't care about Mr. Westerman or the obviously ridiculous and hypocritical things he has (probably) said since January. I don't care about these people because they have abandoned any pretense of being serious adults who are committed to the defense of this country and to our democracy. I think there are probably numerous stories like this that could be told and, really, who gives a shit?

Nobody in the Republican Party cares about governance anymore. It's a smash and grab for the cash that has been left on the table. They are living in safely Gerrymandered districts now and have a permanent place at the trough that shovels money into their campaigns (which is usually siphoned off and used to pay mistresses, hookers, and drug dealers but that's only if you're a tool like Matt Gaetz).

The ludicrousness of thinking that a Civil War era sword would protect him against people ostensibly there to ensure that Trump is kept in power is what sticks out to me. They're on your side, jackass! But, in the case of mistaken identity or the howling outrage of a mob, what do you do when you're just some hick from the backwoods? How's that sword gonna save you when they crush you in a doorway and hose you down with bear spray? How's it going to work when someone takes the American flag to your skull?

Not everybody can be a star on Hannity one night and a darling of OAN on another night. Not everybody can be a picture of hardass manly ability in one respect and a wearer of soiled suit pants the next. It's hard out there for a GOP rep with no fame or fortune. Won't someone think of the lowly backbenchers next time they call down a squirming mob of domestic terrorists?

If you want proof that there is no shame left, think of the long career this asshole will have. He'll get re-elected every time he goes before the voters. They'll send him back to Washington D.C. again and again. This is why our democracy is actually failing. No one has the courage to realize how cowardly they are in the face of a real insurrection.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

The Rich Are Living on Borrowed Time


The disparities between the poor and the rich in places like Mexico are laid out for you if you know where to look. On one side you have luxury and on the other side you have falling-down slums. Never has the empty phrase "it is what it is" meant so much in terms of explaining why this happens in our world. The walls that divide the classes exist because the rich are tolerated and protected with guns and the rule of law and the poor are handed empty promises of a better tomorrow if they would only stop being stupid and lazy. 

Here in America, we already know there are distinct separations between three groups--the increasingly mega-rich, our dwindling Middle Class, and then everyone else. We are approaching an inflection point and this is where President Joe Biden has thrown down the gauntlet:

President Joe Biden will propose almost doubling the capital gains tax rate for wealthy individuals to 39.6% to help pay for a raft of social spending that addresses long-standing inequality, according to people familiar with the proposal.

For those earning $1 million or more, the new top rate, coupled with an existing surtax on investment income, means that federal tax rates for wealthy investors could be as high as 43.4%. The new marginal 39.6% rate would be an increase from the current base rate of 20%, the people said on the condition of anonymity because the plan is not yet public.

A 3.8% tax on investment income that funds Obamacare would be kept in place, pushing the tax rate on returns on financial assets higher than rates on some wage and salary income, they said.

The second Trump term in office would have obliterated most of the remaining taxes on wealth in this country. Health care would be rare, unsafe, and expensive. We would have seen a theoretically GOP-controlled House and Senate pass tax cuts in 2022 that would have made even the Chamber of Commerce blush like a schoolgirl. Had it not been for the fact that Trump was an scrotum-necked gasbag who got high on his own stash and beat the help, they probably would have skated to re-election and not lost the House in 2018. Alas, it all turned to shit and we know how it happened. A reasonably competent version of Trump would be right where George W. Bush was in 2005. Deluded, confused, and convinced he was going to have the political capital to end Social Security.

Raising taxes is what keeps Rupert Murdoch in business. The outrage machine has to be stoked otherwise all of those slowly fading Fox News viewers will suddenly start to like what Sleepy Joe is selling them. The best way to steal the thunder of a populist is to hurt the people who haven't been hurt in a good long while. Brother, the filthy rich in America have it coming.

Biden will make these announcements and then take a tax hike closer to 35% as a compromise. The money people in this country will beat their chests and make empty threats about taking their money overseas. Many already have and many more already know that, if they do, they'll lose it because foreign banks are either corrupt or hold wealth hostage in order to prop up failing governments. Sure, take your money to Cyprus. Good luck getting it out of there when everything goes sideways.

I mean, honestly. Every single wealthy person in America (anyone with more than $50 million in assets) has already spent a decade or more hiding their money from the tax man and paying so very little that I doubt whether doubling the rates or even tripling them would make much difference. The government would have to go to Europe, the Caribbean, and wherever else and confiscate this money to make a difference. 

There are no honest people holding onto more than a billion dollars in this world. You can bet on that. And you can bet on the notion that taking it from them would be harder than putting your Grandma safely on Mars by next Tuesday.

I like this new future. I like the idea of the rich having to come out of their compounds and live in the real world where the Federal government actually pays for keeping human beings alive. More of this, please.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Relentless Bullshit From an Incompetent Bunch of Idiots


The absolute worst coverage of the Biden Presidency is actually coming from Politico these days. To be fair, most of the coverage is of low quality and ignores Republican obstructionism, lawlessness, and conveniently forgets the abject cruelty and incompetence of the last president.

Here, a roundup of reactions from people who should know better attempts to make President Biden seem as bad and as out of touch with "regular" Americans as former California Governor Jerry Brown.

Brown inherited a massive fiscal problem, environmental disasters, and a state undergoing rapid social, economic, and cultural challenges. Not only did he get re-elected, he left office after doing a better than average job of addressing the problems. You'll note that he did not create a cult of personality, end democracy in California, jail his enemies, and avoid making hard decisions.

So, I'm not sure why Politico thinks comparing President Biden to Governor Brown is a bad thing. In their world, of course it's an awful, sick burn. But what they fail to grasp is that, when everything goes wrong, you want a Democrat in office instead of a Republican. You want leadership that at least has a grasp on real problems. If you look at what has happened in California during COVID-19, there's no way to conclude that Gavin Newsom has done everything the right way. But, if you compare him to Abbott in Texas, Kemp in Georgia, and DeSantis in Florida, there's no way you'd pick any of them over any Democratic governor in the country. 

Nothing in this country is ever solved instantly and that's why political hacks don't understand how to govern and lead complex governments. They don't understand that making structural reforms, setting an agenda that provides guidance to state or Federal agencies, and making difficult budget choices is what Democrats routinely do in a far better manner than their GOP counterparts. 

And I really don't think people get this point--there is no cult of personality around President Biden. When he screws up, his only effective critics are fellow Democrats. Yes, I want him to raise the cap on refugees, stand up to our foreign adversaries, pull our troops out of Afghanistan, and punish everyone who stormed the Capitol on January 6. I want him to pack the courts, raise the minimum wage, and do whatever it takes to deliver COVID-19 relief to people in this country and around the world. I am sorely disappointed when he doesn't do what I think is the right thing. But he is a million times better than Trump or anyone Republican. There's no comparison to what we just went through as a country.

Maybe I'm still feeling traumatized, but, up until the moment Joe took office, I was pretty concerned for our future. Now, I can see the long game and the slow approach rooted in common sense and following the law that President Biden has chosen and I am learning to be patient. And grateful, too. But I am not blind to the fact that there are still far too many people in this country who are inventing bullshit out of thin air in order to cause our country to fail.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Why Isn't This Man Crazy?


Senator John Cornyn is upset that President Joe Biden is a stable, functioning adult:

For some people, this historic defeat of American fascism last November left them with a bad taste in their mouth. They missed the insanity of the previous four years when a reasonable person entered the White House. They don't know what to make of it because they had gotten used to being held hostage by a lumpy, drug-added, pants-shitting rageball with man boobs who couldn't stop making everything about himself.

I'm of the opinion that Cornyn just doesn't know how to function in American politics anymore. He should be actively stoking the flames of resentment and working to ensure that American fascism stages a mighty comeback so that he can step on the faces of all those oppose his bloodlust for money and power. He should be working to make THE DEFICIT the biggest issue EVER. He should be lining up his fellow Republicans to stake positions on the issues that are wildly irresponsible and completely out of the mainstream. Instead, he's just writing fan fiction that got old halfway through 2017.

Hell, if you're the Senator from Texas, your meal ticket is big oil and defense spending. Cornyn should be milking that for all its worth and, instead, he's heavily inserted into the ass-end of Russian grievance politics. 

Your garden variety Republican can't do politics anymore. They've grown accustomed to the Gerrymandering that guarantees them an income they could never win if they had to compete in the private sector for a real job. A full ninety-five percent of the Republicans who hold office at the Federal level are unemployable. Many couldn't even bluff their way into a part-time job sucking coins out of a condom vending machine. They just can't handle anything that doesn't involve appearing on camera with pre-printed bullet points at hand. In any sort of normal democracy, they wouldn't have jobs at all. They'd be fighting over the scraps at the county level, unable to convince an extra 12 people to let them be on the local advisory board for well water regulation and drainage ditch abatement.

Our media complex expects every Democrat to be perfect and laughs when they aren't. They expect every Republican will smack them in the mouth if they ask a tough question about competency or decency so they flatter and smirk instead. There is no shame anymore, and when you're as stupid as Cornyn, that's a good thing. It used to be that shame would be enough to force an early retirement. Instead, it's a lack of shame that allows you to weasel your way on TV again and again.

God help us, but the only thing they can complain about when it comes to President Biden is that he's good at his job and doesn't do stupid shit. This is driving all of them batshit crazy.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

The Long Game


You can't expect a bunch of rich white racists to not flip on one another:

At least one of the Capitol riot defendants has flipped against the Proud Boys, agreeing to provide information that could allow the Justice Department to bring a more severe charge against the group's leadership, according to an attorney involved in the case. 
The development is the first indication that people charged in the insurrection are cooperating against the pro-Trump extremist group. Federal prosecutors have made clear they are focused on building conspiracy cases against leadership of the Proud Boys and paramilitary groups like the Oath Keepers. 

Court records have made murmurs for weeks about cooperators and plea deals in the works, and prosecutors revealed that a rioter wearing an Oath Keepers hat was in talks to cooperate earlier this week.

There are different ways to approach the identification and legal destruction of Trumpism. First, you have to figure out who these people are and what their organizations look like. I would much rather see the government get a handle on how many Proud Boys there are and what they are doing as far as their leadership and ties to right-wing business interests are. There is a lot of money flowing into these organizations because, let's face it, none of this is a labor of love for these people. The leaders are fairly well off but they're not about to use their own money. The low level scrubs that are being compelled to flip are poor and not as well connected. This is how the right wing rage machine exploits and consumes its own.

Second, you have to have airtight legal cases and strong prosecution. That takes time and resources. We might be concerned about future attacks and other endeavors from these groups. The government is likely surveilling them and looking for white knights - people who come to their aid or offer to help them restructure and defend themselves. That takes skill and deep pockets and anyone willing to risk their status in Trump world is probably already being watched. 

Third, the goal is not to put Joe Blow from Dogshit, Kentucky in jail for 3.5 years. The goal is to take figures like Roger Stone and turn them all inside out and bankrupt them so that they have to plead for more funds. That, in turn, shakes the tree and more people are caught in an ever-widening investigation that is following all of that money through the financial system. I would think that the forensic analysts are having a field day, tracking how the financing for pro-Trump hate activity is being funded in this country.

It's a long game they're playing and it's fun to watch.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Baseball Billionaires Who Give Money to the GOP


Finally, something that I can support. Finally, a great idea from Ted Cruz and Mike Lee. And, finally, a great idea is resurrected by two of the stupidest Senators to ever serve.

This is basic conservative ideology in 2021. The government should pick who wins and who loses. And unless you do what Republicans want, you're going be a loser. It's as if Cruz and Lee forgot that they are in the minority and can't do jack shit. It's all posturing and preening for the rubes. This is about shaking money out of the tree and nothing more. Helluva way to represent your constituents.

Revoking Major League Baseball's anti-trust exemption would go against the precedents established by the Supreme Court and foul up the sport's ability to run things the way that it has always run things. It would be a massive advance for labor rights, for example. So, if Cruz and Lee want to do that, hey, have at it.

I mean, what would happen if a bunch of billionaires suddenly went bankrupt?

In its one-paragraph opinion, the Toolson Court provided two main justifications for maintaining baseball’s antitrust immunity. First, the majority noted that Congress had been aware of the Federal Baseball ruling for 30 years, but yet had not taken any steps to apply the antitrust laws to MLB. Indeed, Congress had just held extensive hearings regarding baseball’s antitrust status about a year before the Toolson case reached the Supreme Court, hearings that concluded without the passage of any legislation subjecting MLB to the Sherman Act. This suggested the legislature may have intended for baseball to remain protected from antitrust law.

Second, the Court feared that any decision reversing baseball’s antitrust immunity would unfairly subject the sport to retroactive liability, holding MLB legally accountable for activity that it had reasonably believed was beyond the scope of the antitrust laws. Because any monetary damages in federal antitrust suits are tripled, the Court may have even feared that MLB could potentially be driven into bankruptcy if countless current and former players affected by the reserve clause were freed to file their own antitrust lawsuits against the league. In light of Congress’s inaction and these retroactivity concerns, the Toolson opinion closed by declaring that any change to baseball’s antitrust exemption should come from the legislature, not the judiciary.

Take the group that now owns the Atlanta Braves. They would be driven out of business. Some thanks! The Liberty Media Group has given a lot of money to political candidates from both parties over the years, most notably to Donald Trump. I guess Cruz and Lee are ready to go forward with their Quixotic presidential campaigns without any money at all from a protected class of American billionaires and ownership groups that all have deep pockets. The Democratic Party would be happy to sweep up those donations, I'm fairly certain.

All throughout the country, billionaires should be paying attention to what the Republican Party says it will do to anyone who believes in social justice and standing against hatred and bigotry. Is this who you want to give money to? Is this worth the hassle of boycotts and having Rachel Maddow explain why you suck? Some of these people have to live in communities where there are activists and real leaders. It's one thing for Cruz and Lee to shit all over the people who elected them. It's entirely something else when your business might fail because of a single well-organized boycott. You can either tell more than half of the people who want to do business with you to go fuck themselves or you can act like an American citizen who believes in democracy and decency. You can't do both.

Watching Republicans shit themselves as the culture leaves them behind is as good as watching a ballgame anyway.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Henry Olsen is a Ridiculous Buffoon


I'm going to give you one guess when it comes to Henry Olsen's party affiliation:

Good Friday’s jobs report was good for the country. But it may be bad news for President Biden’s agenda.

The unemployment report showed that the economy is springing back as more Americans get their covid-19 vaccinations. It had long been obvious to anyone paying attention that pandemic restrictions, more than financial distress, have been keeping the economy down. Most of the missing jobs were in sectors such as education or restaurants, which were wholly or partially shut down by efforts to keep the virus in check. It stands to reason that as those restrictions are relaxed, jobs would return. That’s exactly what happened last month, as more than half of the 916,000 new jobs were added in the hard-hit entertainment and leisure and education sectors.

These increases occurred before a single dollar of Biden’s stimulus package found its way into Americans’ bank accounts. It follows that increased employment will naturally occur as more pandemic-based capacity controls end, and as more Americans are vaccinated and feel comfortable resuming their pre-pandemic lives. Biden’s $1,400 per-person checks may make those people likelier to spend more, but they won’t change the underlying employment dynamic. That was always being driven by government regulation and social fear. Instead, the new money will likely make Americans more willing to pay more for things they would have bought anyway. There’s a word for that: inflation.

So, more jobs in America means bad news for President Joe Biden. Got it.

An increase in Americans working means oh, shit, Democrats are in trouble! I don't think so.

Less economic pain means BAD NEWS for Sleepy Joe. Yeah, right.

Let's explain something here.

If more Americans are going back to work, Joe Biden doesn't care who gets credit for that. He's probably happy for those folks no matter what. More people working means we're a step closer to getting out of the ditch that a failed Jamaica Estates real estate developer put us into.

If the stimulus package didn't send those folks back to work, then wait and see when it really starts to kick in and restore the economy. I'm going to go out on a  limb here and say that we created more jobs recently because the U.S. government isn't being led by a pie-faced screaming bag of meat who makes everything about himself and works on behalf of idiots, toadies, Russia and his assorted incompetent billionaire shit head friends. We might be creating more jobs because people are finally seeing the effects of competent leadership.

Inflation? Sure, why the hell not? When you tank the economy, there are bound to be problems. But, news flash. President Biden didn't tank the economy. He's actually fixing the economy. And Americans approve of the job he's doing in overwhelming numbers.

So, sit down, Mr. Olsen. Take your buffoonery somewhere else. We're not buying you kind of crazy around here.


Thursday, April 1, 2021

Matt Gaetz Is Totally Not a Pervert At All


When this appeared on social media last November, people were rightfully disgusted by how a sitting member of Congress could get away with leering at the president's daughter. It seemed to exist on a plane that none of us wanted to live on--a permanently horny man horn dogging his way through life at the intersection of Republican politics and sweaty desperation.

It is disgusting behavior.

Representative Matt Gaetz is in the kind of legal trouble pervy dudes get into when their house of cards comes down around them. One too many binges, one too many weekends spent ignoring the folks back home in order to get into the good graces of the only person on Earth who could give him a pardon for his crimes (It's entirely possible that Gaetz was given a "secret" pardon by Trump and we don't know what it is. I'm thinking that this probably wasn't done because Gaetz is facing an array of crimes that could be prosecuted in different jurisdictions).

This kind of shittiness exists because Republicans vote for horrible people. That's entirely our problem right now! The worse the moral character of the person, the likelier they'll get a lot of GOP voters to send them money and pull the lever for them on Election Day.

Personally, I love the fact that no Republican anywhere can lecture me on anything. Everything they believe is bullshit and they will never, ever have the moral high ground on any issue ever again. Their world is gone and it isn't coming back. All they have now are the scumbags and people of low character who are waiting for the knock at the door.