The Battle of El Paso

Ladies and gentlemen, our long national nightmare is over. After a three-month drought, our savior, Lord Dampnut, held a rally at the border town of El Paso, Texas.

Trump’s rally in El Paso was his first since the 2018 midterm election, in which Democrats took control of the House of Representatives. It provided him with a backdrop to again try to rally support for his border wall to stop what he has called “an urgent national crisis” at “our very dangerous southern border” that he claims has led to a surge of crime, drugs and human trafficking caused by migrants seeking illegal entry.

That he would go to such a dangerous place to give this message speaks volumes of his great courage. It’s a shame he wasn’t allowed to serve in Vietnam because of his bone spurs, he may have single-handedly turned the tide of that conflict.

Oh yeah, and his uneducated prick of a son called teachers “losers.” Keep it classy Jr.

At the same time, former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke, who represented El Paso in Congress until he narrowly lost in his campaign against Republican Senator Ted Cruz, spoke at an event at a high school located about bout a half-mile away from Trump’s rally, where he provided a counter argument to Trump’s hair-on-fire message on immigration. The group then marched toward the venue where Trump’s “Make America Great Again” event took taking place.

Trump has made El Paso, a border town which shares a binational metropolitan area with Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, a centerpiece of his argument for erecting a wall on the southern border. Trump falsely cited El Paso during the State of the Union speech last Tuesday as an example of a city where building a wall had worked to deter crime.

In fact, violent crime began its steady decline in El Paso (along with the rest of the country) in the 1990s, long before the border fence was installed in El Paso in 2008. The city “had the second-lowest violent crime rate among more than 20 similarly sized American cities,” the New York Times reported. El Paso’s crime rate stayed steady in 2010, after the fence construction, and it was never considered one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S.

El Paso, O’Rourke said during his rally, is “safe not because of walls, but in spite of walls. Secure, because we treat one another with dignity and respect.”

“That is the way we make our communities and our country safe,” he said to cheers.

O’Rourke’s event began with a march through El Paso. Organizers said the crowd numbered well over 10,000 at its peak, citing El Paso police estimates.

Trump mocked O’Rourke and the size of the protest crowd. “He challenged us,” Trump said. “That may be the end of his presidential bid.” he told his supporters. Trump’s venue itself was filled to capacity (5,250) with an estimated 6,000 person overflow crowd outside. Not exactly a blowout.

O’Rourke urged his supporters to champion policies of inclusion during his speech, painting El Paso as a city built around community, not division.

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”

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.

But why is the Medium “Grande”?

There’s been a lot of talk over the last several months of a number of multi-billionaires thinking about throwing their hats in the ring for president in 2020.  Michael Bloomberg has reportedly thinking of running in the Democratic Party as an alternative to all the crazy lefties and progressives running (good luck with that), and on Sunday, Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, launched some trial balloons to gauge interest in his run. In his case as a “centrist independent.”

Yeah, Schultz is apparently one of those insufferable “above it all” centrists that think political disagreements are just petty squabbles that can be solved through finding the “middle ground.” You know, like the middle ground between putting migrant children in prison camps and…not.

What the hell are these guys thinking? Do they really think that voters, particularly Democrats and Independents, are yearning for another egotistical rich dude to sit in the White House after the disaster that has been the Trump Regime?

The idea of “running the government like a business” has been a popular trope with Republicans for years, but given how that philosophy has been going under recent Republican administrations, it seems that experiment has failed. I don’t think that idea has a chance of resonating with people who are going to be selecting the next Democratic nominee for president, especially after Dubya and Lord Dampnut.

Granted, both George W. Bush and Donald Trump are failed businessmen; Bush couldn’t find oil in Texas and Trump went bankrupt running casinos, but I think most people, especially on the left, recognize that the government isn’t supposed to be a money making enterprise. The government is supposed to serve its citizens.

Republicans have been trying to privatize the United States Postal Service for years but have been stymied because enough people understand that the Post Office isn’t supposed to make money. They get that the Post Office is supposed to deliver mail everywhere in the U.S. regardless of where you live, and privatizing it will encumber that mission with a profit motive.

America is going to have to do a lot to un-fuck itself once Trump’s reign is finally over. It’s going to need an actual leader who cares about doing the right thing for the people. What it doesn’t need is someone who’s main skill is putting a lot of money in their bank account, or someone who serves them in an effort to get more money in theirs.

Well, That Happened

With victories in key U.S. Senate races in Iowa, West Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky, the Republicans seized control of the upper chamber of Congress for the first time since 2006.

Joni Ernst won last night. The woman whose campaign ads had her pointing guns at the camera and promising to “unload on Obamacare.” She talked about castrating pigs in her ads. And she’s now one of the 100 supposedly exemplary Americans who can call themselves United States Senators.

Rick Scott was reelected governor of Florida. Rick Scott was found guilty of 14 felonies for running a healthcare company as a criminal enterprise. He had to pay the government back $600 million he bilked from it and he’s now been elected to run Florida, twice.

Mitch McConnell has spent the past four years doing nothing but, well, nothing. He’s basically just sat around with his arms crossed in the hope that it will in some way lead to the President of the United States being punished for his obstinance and incompetence.

And you know what? It worked. For years now the GOP has deliberately sabotaged the government to the point of near collapse (literally, a couple of times), and it was all done with the idea that the crazier they behaved the more the public they’re supposed to serve would be likely to blame it on the guy in the White House.

And god damn if that gambit didn’t pay off in spades. The Republicans have been rewarded by the people of this country for refusing to do their jobs, for turning every little thing into an Impeachment Level Event (and you already know that’s coming now that they have both houses, right?) and for setting out from the very beginning to purposely thwart the perfectly reasonable centrist in the White House at every turn and cast him as an illegitimate Kenyan terrorist anti-Christ.

Joseph de Maistre famously said that every nation gets the government that it deserves and it sure as hell looks like this the government we deserve. If we’re this clueless, this easily swayed by the narrative whiplash of social media meme culture and this easily willing to forgive such corruption and stupidity, then we’ve earned this largely inept, hopelessly gridlocked government.

It feels as if we were taken hostage by the inmates of an asylum and rather than refusing to bargain, we just handed the whole facility over because we were tired of the noise. Believe it or not, that’s the only somewhat understandable excuse I can think of for what happened: people just gave them what they wanted in the hope of ending their insanity.

I wonder if it’ll work.