So, There was a Speech or Something…

State of the Union addresses tend to be pretty dull, and this year’s was no exception. The one good thing to come out of the State of the Union speech this year is that Trump’s desire to deliver it ended the government shutdown. His insatiable need to have his orange mug in front of cameras in a pageant held for him while words come out of his puckered-butthole of a mouth was worth more to him than getting 1/5 of the money he would need for his monument to white people.

Lord Dampnut wasn’t done agitating for his wall however, he continued his multi-year effort to mainstream talking points taken from white supremacist websites. For example, Trump argued that “politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards.” Which firstly, is not true. No one in any position of power has advocated for “open borders”. Also, the line is a direct echo of the white supremacist accusations that diversity is something “elites” force on white people.

Trump then went to his classic lie that immigrants are the only source of crime in America, claiming that a surge of crime is coming over the border. Granted, crime is bad, but Trump’s implication that crime is a result of immigration is false. Immigrants, both documented and undocumented, commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans.

The most telling part of the speech though, might be the line: “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation,” Trump said. His speechwriter I’m sure patted themselves on the back for the rest of the day for coming up with.

That seems to imply that Trump is willing to tank the economy or jeopardize Americans’ safety if special counsel Robert Mueller, federal prosecutors in New York, or House Democrats insist on investigating the president’s endless crimes and infinite corruption.

Making a threat like that during the State of the Union is a bold gambit, but it also shows how nervous Trump is. The circumstances of his inauguration, which have long been believed to have been a pass-through for all manner of money-laundering, are finally getting a look from the U.S. attorney in New York and House Democrats. Michael Cohen, his dirty former lawyer, has agreed to testify to Congress. Mueller’s incitements keep getting closer and closer to him. It’s getting harder and harder for Trump and his (so far unindicted) lackeys plead ignorance and he is running out of room to plead innocence.

Let’s hope that by this time next year, Trump is sweating bullets through the speech, or giving it from a small room at club Fed.

Lord of the Lattes

Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks CEO, current wannabe presidential candidate, and insanely rich person, doesn’t want you to use the term “billionaire” when talking about him or other insanely rich people.

Schultz, whose presidential platform currently consists of: less taxes for me, no healthcare for you, and buy my book please, was asked if he thought billionaires had too much power in America on Monday at a book event hosted by CNBC host and New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Schultz responded:

“The moniker ‘billionaire’ now has become the catchphrase. I would rephrase that and say that ‘people of means’ have been able to leverage their wealth and their interest in ways that are unfair, and I think that speaks to the inequality but it also speaks to the special interests that are paid for people of wealth and corporations who are looking for influence.”

I seem to recall the Republicans trying to do something like this with “job creators” and it not going all that well. In fact, I would like to propose a new policy where every time Howard Schultz says something profoundly tone deaf, the top marginal tax rate goes up another 2%.

It doesn’t appear Schultz noticed the irony that he is a billionaire – sorry, “person of means” – who is able to leverage their wealth into getting undue amounts of press and TV time trying to become a presidential contender. All this despite having no political experience or any sense of self awareness.

Currently, Howard Schultz’s approval ratings among Democrats, Republicans, and Independents is hovering around 4%.

I have a better idea for an alternate term for billionaire: “rich fuck”

The Maroon 5 of Super Bowls

Demonstrating once again that we are indeed in the worst timeline, The New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams in a 13-3 snoozefest to win Super Bowl LIII. It was the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history, the longest play was a punt, there just one red zone possession all game, and to add insult to injury, Maroon 5 played the halftime show.

Despite the low score, the game did look like it could have been a decent defensive struggle during the first two quarters. It seemed at first that each team’s defenses were being stout and making good stops, but as the first half started coming to a close, it was clear that both offenses were just very dull.

Then the halftime show happened…I think?

Marron 5, the perfect embodiment of what old corporate suits think “the kids” like, led a disjointed fiasco of a halftime show in which the only highlight was a tribute to Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants who passed away in November.

After the halftime show came to a sudden end, the Patriots and the Rams decided they might as well finish the rest of the game. The score remained stuck at 3-3 until the Patriots managed to put a drive together long enough score the only touchdown of the game.

The Rams attempted to rally, threatening to put a drive of their own together until Jared Goff threw a dud of a pass that was intercepted at the Patriot’s 4-yard-line. Essentially sealing the deal.

The Patriots winning their 6th Super Bowl title, especially in this manner, was like seeing the spoiled rich kid get the girl at the end of a 90s teen movie. On the bright side; at least it was mercifully short.

Humanoid Turtle Speaks, Doesn’t Understand Irony

Democrats in the House of Representatives are trying to pass HR1, a sweeping anti-corruption and voting rights bill which looks to expand access to ballots, make Election Day a national holiday, and force super-PACs to reveal their donors. As things stand now, it’s unlikely that will become law anytime soon. Republicans still hold power in the Senate and in the White House and at this point, they know that their hold on power rests on keeping as many people from voting as possible.

The Republicans are a minority party, only about 30-40% of the country supports them and probably half of those people only do so because they been told for decades by Fox News and right wing radio that they should hate Democrats. As more and more people are getting wise to the scam that Republican economic policy only benefits the already rich, their support continues to erode.

In response to this, the Republican party has decided to restrict or dilute voting as much as possible. They’ve done this through gerrymandering, voter suppression, and purging. When all else fails they ignore the will of the people by stripping power from incoming administrations of any power to undo their policies. They’ve been trying to do in North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Michigan when recent elections didn’t go their way.

Needless to say, no legislation to expand access to the ballot box is going to make it through the Republican controlled Senate. Senate Majority Leader, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’s racist uncle, Mitch McConnell went to the Senate floor earlier this week to (unintentionally) put all of his cards on the table saying:

“Speaker Pelosi and her colleagues are advertising it as a package of urgent measures to save American democracy. What it really seems to be is a package of urgent measures to rewrite the rules of American politics for the exclusive benefit of the Democratic Party.”

McConnell also went on to mock the idea of a national Election Day holiday and slagging on  federal employees over a provision that would give them six extra days of leave if they worked polling places. Suggesting that lazy government “bureaucrats” don’t need any more days off.

Keep in mind that the Senate was only in session for about 160 days last year and McConnell just helped Donald Trump keep the government shut down for 35 days. Forcing may of those government workers to work without pay for over a month.

And he wants to suggest federal workers are lazy? What a scumbag.

Although he is partially right. A federal election holiday would be a power grab. It would allow the people to take back some of the power that the Republicans (and many Democrats) have given to the rich over the last several decades. And in fairness, it would probably benefit the Democrats now that some in the party are beginning to move the party away from the donor class and back toward the citizens.

If the Republicans want to survive as a party, maybe they should follow suit.

Windy City Blues

Earlier this week, Jussie Smollett, best known for his portrayal of R&B singer Jamal Lyon on the Fox television series Empire, exited a Subway (the restaurant) in Chicago and was attacked by two men in ski masks. As the men attacked Smollett, who is black and openly gay, they hurled racial and anti-gay slurs at him and told him “This is MAGA country.” Smollett suffered a broken rib but was discharged from Chicago’s Northwestern Hospital Tuesday morning. Chicago police are investigating the attack.

Before his arrival in Chicago, Smollett had received threats, which for him is probably pretty common sadly, but many far-right extremists are claiming the Jussie Smollett attack is a left-wing hoax and a “false flag” and insist that Smollett is lying.

Because of course they are.

One of the would-be detectives on right-wing cesspool The Donald posted that Smollett “got mugged and is trying to turn himself into a race martyr.” Another described the attack as “another phony hate crime.” It’s not clear whether they think that the attack or hate crimes in general are “phony”.

In fact, many right-wing commentators and outlets been pushing the “fake news” narrative as well. Generally they’ve been following a, “That two Trump supporters were just waiting with rope and bleach at 2 a.m. for some celebrity to attack makes no sense” line of thinking.

Even right-wing Republicans who are expressed sympathy for Smollett were not safe from outraged Trump enthusiast and conspiracy buffs who believe that the attack on him is a hoax. Anti-Trump conservative Ana Navarro posted on Twitter, “I saw Jussie Smollett in Miami last week. I can’t believe this happened. It is sad and disgusting and deplorable.”

That didn’t sit well with Trump supporters who furiously attacked Navarro in the comments. One angry Trumper replied, “You disgusting hateful bitch….. U r the epitome of fake news and of a FAKE REPUBLICAN! Can not WAIT til God knee jerks you down ten notches @ananavarro!”

Gosh, who could possibly think that Trump supporters, who get this bent out of shape over tweets, would target and attack someone? Especially given their Dear Leader’s propensity for publicly attacking people who criticize him.

When a long list of prominent Democrats and CNN became the targets of a domestic terrorist in 2018, many on the far-right were quick to claim it was all a left-wing hoax as well. And now, many on the far right are assuming that the violent attack on Jussie Smollett is yet another left-wing plot to discredit Donald Trump’s presidency.

This presumes that Donald Trump’s presidency has any credibility to begin with.