Lock Them Up

Using non-government email addresses for government business is a REALLY BIG DEAL. All perpetrators of this odious crime should be locked up, and the keys to those locks should be thrown into a volcano.

Someone like the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential candidate — whatshername — deserves such a fate. During the campaign we were endlessly reminded she was “crooked” because “emails”. EMAILS! Emails are bad. The people who use them improperly can’t be allowed into government.

But wait! Steve Bannon did the crooked emails! So did Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. If even steadfast Ivanka can be seduced by the naughty emails, the issue has reached epidemic proportions. There is only one solution that comes to mind. It’s tough love, but a crime’s a crime.

Lock them up.

It is insufficient to state the obvious of Donald Trump: that he is a white man who would not be president were it not for this fact. With one immediate exception, Trump’s predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness—that bloody heirloom which cannot ensure mastery of all events but can conjure a tailwind for most of them. Land theft and human plunder cleared the grounds for Trump’s forefathers and barred others from it. Once upon the field, these men became soldiers, statesmen, and scholars; held court in Paris; presided at Princeton; advanced into the Wilderness and then into the White House. Their individual triumphs made this exclusive party seem above America’s founding sins, and it was forgotten that the former was in fact bound to the latter, that all their victories had transpired on cleared grounds. No such elegant detachment can be attributed to Donald Trump—a president who, more than any other, has made the awful inheritance explicit.

His political career began in advocacy of birtherism, that modern recasting of the old American precept that black people are not fit to be citizens of the country they built. But long before birtherism, Trump had made his worldview clear. He fought to keep blacks out of his buildings, according to the U.S. government; called for the death penalty for the eventually exonerated Central Park Five; and railed against “lazy” black employees. “Black guys counting my money! I hate it,” Trump was once quoted as saying. “The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” After his cabal of conspiracy theorists forced Barack Obama to present his birth certificate, Trump demanded the president’s college grades (offering $5 million in exchange for them), insisting that Obama was not intelligent enough to have gone to an Ivy League school, and that his acclaimed memoir, Dreams From My Father, had been ghostwritten by a white man, Bill Ayers.

It is often said that Trump has no real ideology, which is not true—his ideology is white supremacy, in all its truculent and sanctimonious power. Trump inaugurated his campaign by casting himself as the defender of white maidenhood against Mexican “rapists,” only to be later alleged by multiple accusers, and by his own proud words, to be a sexual violator himself. White supremacy has always had a perverse sexual tint. Trump’s rise was shepherded by Steve Bannon, a man who mocks his white male critics as “cucks.” The word, derived from cuckold, is specifically meant to debase by fear and fantasy—the target is so weak that he would submit to the humiliation of having his white wife lie with black men. That the slur cuck casts white men as victims aligns with the dicta of whiteness, which seek to alchemize one’s profligate sins into virtue. So it was with Virginia slaveholders claiming that Britain sought to make slaves of them. So it was with marauding Klansmen organized against alleged rapes and other outrages. So it was with a candidate who called for a foreign power to hack his opponent’s email and who now, as president, is claiming to be the victim of “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history.”

In Trump, white supremacists see one of their own.

–Ta-Nahisi Coates, The First White President

So You’re A Republican Congressman Who Planned On Using The Debt Ceiling As Political Leverage

Rough day, buddy. Rough day.

Wednesday started out so promising. After your perfunctory daily blood sacrifice to Mammon, you attended a pancake prayer breakfast with your turtle friend Mitch and a dozen of his closest colleagues. “We’ve got a tough road ahead of us this September,” he intoned, jowls all aquiver, “But by gum, I’ve lubricated tax reform with our debt ceiling threat. We’ll be able to slide it through Congress to the president’s desk before month’s end.”

What callow youths you were this morning.

Apropos of nothing, the tangerine tyrant who roosts in your party like an obligate brood parasite smacked your best laid schemes upside the head.

President Trump, a man of few allegiances who seized control of the Republican Party in a hostile takeover, suddenly aligned himself with Democrats Wednesday on a series of key fiscal issues — and even gave a lift to North Dakota’s embattled Democratic U.S. senator.

Trump confounded his own party’s leaders when he cut a deal with Democratic congressional leaders — “Chuck and Nancy,” as the president informally referred to them — on a short-term plan to fund the government and raise its borrowing limit this month.

Trump’s surprise stance upended sensitive negotiations over the debt ceiling and other crucial policy areas this fall and further imperiled his already tenuous relationships with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.).

The episode is the latest turn in Trump’s extraordinary separation from his own party, as he distances himself to deflect blame for what has been a year of gridlock and missed opportunities for Republicans on Capitol Hill. It follows a summer of presidential stewing over McConnell and Ryan, both of whom Trump views as insufficiently loyal and weak in executing his agenda, according to his advisers.

After all you’ve done for the man, this is how he repays you and your party. After. All. You’ve. Done. You swallowed every pang of conscience, silenced every klaxon, stopped up your ears with candle wax so your party could take total control of Washington. You looked the other way when he groped other men’s mothers and daughters. You put up with his inane, embarrassing, counter-democratic blather on Twitter. You feebly defended his obstructions of justice. You turned off your brain and bowed so low your nose scraped the ground to get your way. For nothing. This cuckoo has offered only searing disappointment. And now he collaborates with the enemy?!

You realize you’ve grit your teeth so hard you’ve cracked a tooth. You wonder — and as you wonder, you know you’re not the only Republican congressman to be wondering this — has the time come for a 46th President of the United States? What do you need to do to get there? You hope Mike’s up for the job.

(Year Zero/Day Two Hundred and Thirty)

Zombie Zombie Trumpcare

He’s still at it. Undeterred by crashing his head into a brick wall, the concussed fool staggers, wipes his bloody face with a sleeve and affixes his gaze on his target again. Ramming speed. He’ll need to run harder if he wants to break through to the other side.

The Boys Are Back In Town

Did you hear? The boys — mostly, this being Congress — are back in town!  They’re well-rested and ready to get in pointless fights with the president, attempt to pass toxic legislation and fail to run a government they have near-total control over.

First up on the agenda, tax ref– DACA! Trump intends to stick it to the Dreamers and has given Congress exactly 6 months to sort it all out. But Congress isn’t inept; they can juggle multiple balls at once. So the DACA ball is in the air, next comes tax ref– Hurricane Harvey relief! Houston is one big puddle right now. 60 people are confirmed dead, and many more have lost everything. Responding to this disaster can’t wait.

So DACA, then Harvey relief, then tax refo– oh, what is it now?! Kim Jong Un detonated a hydrogen bomb underground, and the Trump administration continues its ill-advised game of feeding the troll? This calls for some sober-minded adults in the room.

But after DACA, hurricane relief and averting a nuclear holocaust, they’ll be able to give their undivided attention to… to… tax reform. Presuming nothing else major happens in the month of September. Congressional Republicans desperately need something to brag about to their constituents. If they can’t pass something in the next month, the electoral politics of 2018 ensures nothing substantial will be done for another year and some change.

It’s a good thing for the GOP the American tax code isn’t, you know, complicated.

(Year Zero/Day Two Hundred and Twenty-Nine)