Impeaching Donald Trump

Oh, man, would I love to see that happen. I mean, set aside my deep, abiding, decades-long dislike for Donald Trump, who not only represents but literally embodies the absolute worst in both human nature and late-capitalist rape-culture patriarchy. The man is just absolutely terrible at the job. I mean, after Abu Ghraib and torture and our pre-emptive invasion of a sovereign nation that – however awful a regime Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was, and it was awful – had not attacked and was not going to attack us; after dropping the ball on terrorism and the cleanup after Hurricane Katrina; after firing so many US attorneys for not prosecuting Democrats and trying to privatize Social Security and all the other terrible things George W. Bush did in office, I didn’t think we could ever have such a terrible President again. But I was wrong. Oh, how I was wrong.

I’ll spare you the litany of his crimes and incompetence. You’re either well enough aware I’d just be re-traumatizing you, or you’re hate-reading this and won’t believe any of it. Suffice to say, when they told me when I was growing up that anyone could be President, I should have realized it was as much warning as patriotic bromide, and been more diligent in my citizenship.

But we are where we are, and with the midterms coming up, it’s more important than ever to get out and vote, and to flip one or both houses of Congress so as to provide the checks and balances that are supposed to be the main feature of the world’s greatest democracy.

And let’s be real. Even if we flip both House and Senate, and fill them with Democrats, it’s going to be tough as shit to get anything done, because veto-proof majorities aren’t likely to happen. Hell, flipping the Senate isn’t likely to happen (though it’s probably likelier than it would be without Donald Trump in the White House). But even just flipping the House gets us an institutional brake put on the tax cuts and over-deregulation that is the GOP’s stock in trade.

And the investigations, oh the investigations. Into Russia’s Cyberwar on us, in 2016 and beyond. Into the Trump family’s shady financial and business history. Into – if we push hard enough – all the backroom dealing and chicanery that drives our policy choices. That alone would make it all worth it.

But impeachment? It’s a red herring.

I mean, sure, it would be gratifying. It would even be justified (hello emoluments, hello self-dealing, hello unregistered foreign agents). But in the end it would be a hollow victory. Without 67 Senators willing to vote a conviction on all those high crimes and misdemeanors, it’s no more meaningful than when the Republicans did it to Bill Clinton in the ’90s. A symbolic gesture. A feel-good moment, which accomplishes very little.

And even if we did succeed in removing him from office, what does it get us but President Mike Pence? Who, while decidedly not smart, and a real jerkwad, is at least politically savvy enough not to keep destroying the GOP and the conservative brand. I mean, unless those aforementioned investigations turn up something so horrible that we take Robert Reich’s suggestion – as unlikely as it is appealing – to annul the results of the 2016 Presidential election, I think we’re better off with Donald Trump right where he is, making noise, accomplishing nothing, and shrinking the Republican party down to the hardest of hardcore white supremacists, Christian Dominionists, and oligarch/kleptocrats. Besides, if we get rid of Trump, that open up the field for a smarter, slicker, more eloquent fascist to run, one who won’t have his handicaps or record of failure.

No, painful as it will be, I think we’re best off with Trump as a lame duck keeping the seat warm til January 2021.

And once we’ve voted him out? Well, I for one can’t wait to see his ass perp-wallked to the federal pen, where he can spend what little is left of his life regretting the choices that led him there, and we can get down to fixing all the things he’s broken, and some other things, too.

The Manafort Verdict

I’m glad as any libtard snowflake to hear about the Manafort verdict. And I do hope, as so many do, that it’ll lead him to flip. Being who and where he was, I think he’s in a position to fill in a *lot* of blanks and/or corroborate a lot of things that seem obvious but for which there aren’t yet smoking guns.

But you know what? I’m even gladder to see someone who lived his life as if the rules the rest of us have to play by didn’t apply to him get his just desserts. Pumping up his income to get loans, lying and shrinking it when it was time to file taxes, working to make some of the world’s worst people look good (and, most likely, helping them launder money), hell, working as their undeclared agent in the United States: all the actions of a man who, because of his privilege and connections, decided he could do whatever the fuck he wanted and get away with it. And for decades he did, because people like him run the world. A poor woman with a great business idea can’t get a loan, but this guy gets a million dollars because the CEO of the bank wants a job in the Trump administration. It’s not just wrong, it’s counterproductive.

I’ll tell you, what I’d like to see — even more than watching Trump go down, sweet as that would be — is for all these people trading favors and scratching backs and screwing everyone over all the time to be investigated, charged, and put on trial for the fraud and self-dealing that underlies so much of our economic and political decision-making. Sure, we pretend at meritocracy, but we all know it’s not what you know, it’s who. We all know the game is rigged, that, as George Carlin so eloquently and succinctly put it: “There’s a club, and you ain’t in it.”

So yes, let’s hope Manafort flips to save his own skin. Let’s hope (and work so) that Manafort and Cohen are just the beginning of a cascade of justice and realignment. Because it’s not just that it’s morally and ethically wrong for a such a small minority of the population to arrogate such a ridiculous wealth of resources to themselves while so many don’t have enough and never will. It’s a bad use of those resources, one that perpetuates a pyramid scheme version of civilization where the vast majority of human potential is not only wasted but actively discouraged from developing, to all of our detriment.

An Open Letter to Elected Democrats

Well, we’re two weeks in, and it’s as clear as it ought to have been all along that what we’re dealing with the Trump Administration and the Republican-dominated Congress is as far past normal as Alpha Centauri is past the corner convenience store. A blitzkrieg of bad policy and worse nominees is overrunning the nation’s institutional defenses, as between them the Administration and Congress try and push through every bad idea the right’s ever had. I’m sure you don’t need me to read you the laundry list.


So here’s what I and my fellow liberals, progressives, and sane Americans with functioning empathy, conscience, and reason want you to know:

You. Must. Resist.

At every turn, in every way you can. Throw up roadblocks. Boycott hearings. Present amendment after amendment until the docket is filled til 2018. Whatever you can do to fight them or gum up the works, we expect you to do it.

It’s time to stop bringing a strongly-worded letter to a knife fight. The America we love and put our faith in is on the line. History is watching.

And you know what? We’re watching, too. And we’re going to remember.

Here’s something that I think is worth thinking about, if the case on the merits isn’t enough motivation for you. In October 2002, then-Senator Hillary Clinton voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iraq. At the time, it looked like the politically-smart play, even though the Bush Administration’s case for war in Iraq had more holes in it than a paper bin Laden target at a West Texas shooting range. But the Bush Administration had a strong hand, politically, and made a disciplined push. In the wake of 9/11 there were few Democrats with the foresight and backbone to vote no.

That vote’s been an albatross around Hillary Clinton’s neck ever since. It cost her the nomination in 2008, and the Presidency in 2016. Because a lot of people never forgave her for that. Never forgot the calculation she made, for short-term political gain, and the tragedy, horror, and damage to our national soul that resulted from the war, and the bipartisan cover she and her fellow Congressional Democrats provided its justification.

Left unchecked, the present Administration and Congress are going to unwind a century’s progress. A lot of people are going to suffer and die unnecessarily. It’s up in the air whether we’ll have a trade or shooting war first. Up in the air whether we’ll still have a democracy.

The only option open to a person of conscience is vigorous, unflinching, disciplined opposition. At every turn. On every front. That’s what we want from you. That’s what history demands at this moment.

So show us what you’re made of. Give us a reason to believe in you, a reason to keep backing you. Do this thing, and we’ll do everything we can to get you re-elected and expand your caucus til we can do some good or at least unwind some of the bad.

If you don’t? Well, you’re already hearing from us, and seeing us everytime you go out in public. We’ll keep that up, month in and year out. And the next time you run for re-election? You can expect a primary challenge from the left.

And by then? We’re going to be really good at this organizing thing.

On This Idea That Things Have to Get Worse Before We Can Make Them Better

Short on time, so I’m going to keep this quick and dirty.

The notion that if things only get bad enough that suddenly the progressive agenda will become more widely appealing (and thus easy to implement) is a fucking canard. Ain’t gonna happen, no way no how.

If you have to destroy the village to save it, you didn’t save it.

First off, we tried it back in 2000. Maybe you forgot, or weren’t alive, or weren’t old enough to be paying attention, but things were going pretty fucking well at the end of the ’90s. The economy was chugging along pretty well, and there was plenty to go around. Yeah, not everyone was doing great, but there was a lot of cause for optimism. We hadn’t been in a shooting war in decades. Hell, our worst threat was a bunch of goat-fuckers in camps in Afghanistan who wanted to hurt us but mostly weren’t pulling if off.

Was it the best of all possible worlds? No. But things were good and getting better. There was a solid foundation to build further progress on. Hell, it seemed eminently reasonable to vote for Ralph Nader, if only to elevate the Green Party to minor party status and get it some federal funding to build a roots-up political organization that could do some good in the world. I, myself, voted, donated to, and volunteered for Ralph.

Then Bush won, and shit went south pretty much right away.

Not one but two massive tax cuts for the wealthiest of the wealthy. 9/11, which happened at least in part because Bush et al took their eyes off the aforementioned goat-fuckers. Then the Iraq War. Guantanamo. Abu Ghraib. CIA black sites. Katrina. Two Supreme Court Justices — including a new Chief Justice — who have contributed to decisions like Citizens United, and Shelby County. Oh, and let’s not forget the US Attorney scandal, in which they tried to fire ostensibly independent LEOs for not prosecuting enough Democrats or, God forbid, prosecuting Republicans. And, of course, the financial deregulation that gave us the Great Recession, which continues to fuck the economy to this day despite the best efforts of the Obama Administration.

We lost a *lot* of ground towards the progressive utopia we all want to see brought about, thanks at least in part to a solid chunk of the population that thought “If it gets bad enough, people will see the foolishness of conservative/Republican governance, and turn, as they must, to the other side.”

I mean, seriously, if you’re worried about, say climate change — and if you aren’t, you’re a fool or at least fooling yourself — just think for a moment what eight or even four years with the guy who made An Inconvenient Truth in the White House might have done to make progress on fighting or at least managing it.

Then we got Obama, who’s done a pretty good job turning things around, but could have done so much more if liberals, progressives, and generally sane people hadn’t sat out the 2010 Census Year Mid-term elections in such big numbers, allowing the Republicans and their Tea Party bomb-throwers to gerrymander a damn near unsinkable House Majority for a whole fucking decade.

So here we are now. Things are turning around. Yes, it could be faster. Yes, the system’s corrupt. But again, we’ve made some real progress. Laid a foundation for more. We’ve got a Democratic candidate in Hillary Clinton who ought to be a progressive dream candidate. Not only a woman — and holla for breaking that glass ceiling — but one running on the most progressive platform in the history of ever. Even if her opponent wasn’t a racist, sexist, xenophobic, fascist idiot narcissist in the pocket of the Russians who genuinely doesn’t understand why we don’t use the nuclear weapons we have or any other goddamn thing, anyone who even remotely identifies as liberal or progressive ought to be jumping for joy at the prospect of the most qualified and capable candidate for the highest office in the land in the history of the goddamned Republic.

But, again, we’ve got a bunch of people who just can’t bring themselves to pull the lever for her, and who think, once again, that if we let the racist, sexist, xenophobic, fascist idiot narcissist in the pocket of the Russians win that things will finally get so bad the Glorious Progressive Revolution will come of its own accord.

The problem, aside from the damage done and the many, many steps backward that will entail, is that human nature doesn’t work that way. A progressive society is contingent on prosperity. When people ain’t got shit, they start looking out for them and theirs, and fuck everybody else. They cling to their guns and their religion and their tribe harder than ever, because if there ain’t enough to go around then they’ll make damn sure they and theirs get what they need first, and the rest can go hang.

Look. I get it. There’s a lot to object to in the way our country is run. But if the choice is between an imperfect status quo and the goddamned apocalypse, then that shouldn’t be a fucking choice at all. If you have enough privilege to ride out the serial disaster that would be a Trump administration, bully for you. But there’s a whole fuckload of people who don’t, and way way way too many of them stand to get hurt while you wait for the revolution you haven’t really thought through to ripen.

You want progress? You want change? Then not only do you have to vote for Hillary Clinton (hold your nose or no, I don’t really give a fuck). You have to vote Democrat all the way down the ballot. You know why shit’s so dysfunctional? Because the goddamned Republicans put party before country, and have sabotaged and vandalized and obstructed every fucking thing that might make things better. They have to, because their whole thing is that government can’t work and is never the solution and if you elect them they’ll prove it to you, as they fucking have for decades now. The Democrats may be imperfect and their tent’s big enough that they’re as centrist as they are liberal, but at least they want to keep the fucking lights on.

It’s not sexy, I know. But if you care about making the world a better place by enacting a progressive agenda, then you have to build on the progress we’ve already made.

Let’s Call Donald Trump What He Really Is: The Candidate – and Literal Embodiment – of Straight White Male Privilege

“I have never been wrong about anything.”

You know, for a guy as demonstrably and reliably dishonest as Donald Trump is, he’s been pretty open about what kind of man he is, and what we’ll get if he wins the Presidency.

What kind of man is he? Well, yes, he’s straight (the straightest!), white (okay, he’s actually orange), and male (“There’s no problems. I guarantee it.”). But above all, before anything else, he is privileged.

It’s been said of both George Bushes, ‘He was born on third and thought he hit a triple.’ Trump was born on third and he’s mad because he’s sure he hit a home run. He must have, because everything he does, says, or thinks is awesome, and the only reason he can’t have literally everything he wants whenever he wants it is because the world is conspiring against him. Probably because everything he does, says, or thinks is awesome, and they’re jealous, or fat, or ugly, or sad!

It’s almost hard to fault him for it, because the notion he is entitled to do whatever the fuck he wants, whenever the fuck he wants, to whomever the fuck he wants has been drummed into him his whole life. It’s the air he breathes, the fabric of his space-time continuum, of which he is the absolute center around which all else revolves.

Okay, it’s not that hard to fault him.

But just as it’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it, it’s damn near impossible to get a man to understand something when his privilege depends on his not understanding it. Continue reading “Let’s Call Donald Trump What He Really Is: The Candidate – and Literal Embodiment – of Straight White Male Privilege”