Monday, July 30, 2018

I’m OK. You?

My father was of the firm belief that good is much more prevalent than evil in the world. And the proof, as he saw it, was that we would not be able to live in a world where evil overpowered good. Such a thing would be unfathomable, he believed. And that it only seemed that there was more evil than good in the world because terrible things were always more noticeable and more life altering than positive ones. Along those lines, his favorite analogy when broaching the subject, was to imagine a car in almost perfect condition with the exception of one engine part that rendered the vehicle immobile. Chassis, transmission, steering, tires…all in perfect condition but that flawed engine part that kept it off the road.

It never occurred to him that his analogy actually disproved his theory. Yes, 99% of the car was in excellent condition but the lone imperfection disrupted the whole purpose of the car’s existence, which was to be driven and transport its passengers. So, in the end, the bad outweighed the good even if it was just a solitary actor’s handiwork.

I thought about this recently as I was mulling over what it means to be a good person.

Watching the trailer for the upcoming film Operation Finale, about the capture in Argentina and trial in Israel of the Nazi’s infamous Final Solution architect Adolf Eichmann, I was thinking about philosopher Hannah Arendt’s controversial “banality of evil” which she coined in describing her impression of Eichmann as a detached follower and servant who saw his monstrous crimes as simply the job he was entrusted with carrying out. And, more importantly, an explanation as to how the average person can commit the most heinous atrocities with little acknowledgement of the inherent evil involved.

My intention is not disprove or support Arendt’s analysis per se but to recognize how it made me arrive at certain conclusions in so far as how we characterize ourselves regarding good and evil.

Too often we consider good people—including ourselves—those who simply do no harm to others, as if being a passive bystander is an immediate virtue. I have come to understand that being a good person requires an active effort in that regard and that residing on the sidelines is no real path to honor or nobility, let alone merit.

It has been my lifelong intention to avoid causing deliberate harm and for the most part I have succeeded. But that’s about it. Now, if I were alleviating some kind of suffering, helping with the wellbeing—physical or spiritual—of others, making a tangible positive difference in others’ lives, well, then I would be the first to describe myself as a good person. But merely abstaining from evil is not enough. Sadly, I’m far from alone in this category.

My younger brother, on the other hand, has put his life on hold to care for our elderly and memory-challenged mother. He’s been doing this for a few years now, with loving care and devotion, even at times when she can be incredibly but involuntarily difficult because of her deteriorating condition. And yes, one can point readily to her devotion to him when in his ‘tween/early teen years he was the one who needed constant care and attention after a bad car accident, as the catalyst or motivation for his fidelity to our mother in this trying situation. But as a close friend pointed out, other children with a similar history and predicament have chosen to absolve themselves partially or completely from all responsibility when it comes to the care of their parents or other loved ones, but my brother has faced this challenge with patience, grace and love. He, is a good person; I’m just OK.

Those of you actually doing good out there, thank you. We OK people need to catch up to you. It’s the very least we can do if we want to be even remotely considered decent people. OK, then.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Keep Your Eyes on the Ball, Folks

In one of his typical attempts at misdirection Chump is lashing out on Twitter and even threatening to shut down the government. Fuck that. Let’s concentrate on how his failed tariff war has led to bribe his supporters in the farming industry with a $12B bail out to ensure their vote and how the non-Chumpbots in Flint, whose water was poisoned by the, um, mismanagement of a Republican governor, don’t get jackshit in comparison.

Like Katrina and Maria also taught us, you can fuck with the health and safety of American PoC and get away with it, but if white people have their profit margins affected we must IMMEDIATELY come to their rescue.

We have looong memories, assholes. Remember that.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Federal Judge Allows Emoluments Case Against Trump to Proceed

WaPo:
The ruling, from U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte in Greenbelt, Md., will allow the plaintiffs — the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia — to proceed with their case, which says Trump has violated little-used anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution known as emoluments clauses. This ruling appeared to mark the first time a federal judge had interpreted those constitutional provisions and applied their restrictions to a sitting president. If the ruling stands, it could bring unprecedented scrutiny to Trump’s businesses — which have sought to keep their transactions with foreign states private, even as their owner sits in the Oval Office.

It's not about convincing his followers or shaming the GOP to do the right thing but to go after him for the illegal bullshit he's knowingly and blatantly perpetrated. Godspeed, folks.

Monday, July 23, 2018

It's A Black Thing, You Wouldn't Understand

One of the more telling aspects of the 2016 Democratic primary was not that Hillary Clinton had a strong following among the African-American community—before Obama became POTUS black people used to jokingly, albeit with affection, call Bill Clinton the first black president—but that many of Bernie Sanders’ followers had no idea of this long-standing relationship. (I knew this would not bode well for the Sanders camp and the frustration it engendered manifested itself in instances of racism I did not expect from fellow liberals. It was both disgusting and heartbreaking, although, admittedly, I felt more of the former than the latter.)

This is particularly important at this juncture in Democratic politics, when there is talk of pushing aside the establishment Democrats in favor of new progressive blood, as we saw with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s recent upset and the rise of Cynthia Nixon’s gubernatorial candidacy. But here’s the rub: like Sanders before them, guess what sector both of these candidates are lacking support from.

Yup.

So, one has to wonder whether Ocasio-Cortez is or not an outlier and if Nixon can win without the most loyal demo in the Democratic party. And there is already some unrest: despite her impressive and historic victory, some have taken to derisively calling Ocasio-Cortez, “the gentrification candidate” due to the widespread, game-changing support she got from neighborhoods whose demographics have been rapidly changing. (To a brown native NYer like her you know that’s gotta hurt.) And while Nixon has amassed an impressive tally of Hollywood backers and endorsers, she’s not garnering much steam with black folks: she’s at 17% with them, while Gov. Cuomo has a 74% approval rate among African Americans.

As always, “We’ll see”, said the blind man.

[CNN: Cynthia Nixon, Like Bernie Sanders Before Her, Has A Problem With Black Democrats]

Fake Haiku of the Day

90% of Republicans support Trump
40% of Americans are Republican
Do the math and vote

Sunday, July 22, 2018

With Venezuelan Oil Industry on Verge of Collapse Are The Chavistas Dancing In The Streets Yet?

The Independent:
Despite having the greatest oil reserves in the world, Venezuela’s government is being forced to spend millions of dollars a day importing crude to prop up its ailing industry. Petrol remains the only cheap commodity left in Venezuela amid the collapse of most of its economy, but the oil industry is now also struggling to meet basic domestic demands. Experts say the industry is operating below 40 per cent of its potential output. Last month, the International Energy Agency reported that Venezuela is and will probably remain “the biggest risk factor” in a global supply crisis that may soon tip the market into deficit.
Fucking criminals every last one.

By the way, I blame Rafael Caldera for the monumental disaster that now grips a once proud country in a death-like vise. Despite his noteworthy achievements in his two stints as Venezuelan president, his pardon of those involved in the failed 1992 coup d'etat, including its leader Hugo Chavezwho, as a treasonous colonel, had an assured date with the firing squadwas an infamous decision that eventually led to the fall of Venezuela.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Get In The Ring, Democrats (part 2)

After reading a piece in Esquire that called for former President Obama to call out Trump and his numerous transgressions against our country by name—which Obama has refused, seemingly adhering to past protocols of not publicly chastising one’s successor; as if Trump will ever do the same once we remove him from office he steps down—it occurred to me that the Democrats should name an official pit bull.

And by that I mean, ideally, an Alan Grayson-type to be in charge of attacking this administration and its preposterous policies on a daily basis. Sort of like the lawmaker who offers the opposing side’s take on the State of the Union. But with teeth. This individual must not be someone who is in or seeking office but a consummate Democrat with the balls (or ovaries) to say what needs to be said, conclusively, effectively and without filter. Like a message czar or something.

And yes, I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t that party chairman Tom Perez’s job?” Should be. Somebody should wake him up and let him know.

Get In The Ring, Democrats

For as long as I have blogged, discussed and debated American politics I have continually made it a point to decry the across-the-board milquetoast attitude of Democrats in how they've made policy, defended their gains and sold their message over the last couple of decades. In other words, I have bemoaned their lack of a killer instinct—the absence of a penchant for being aggressive and yes, playing dirty, when need be. Well, on this front, it seems that I’m not as alone as I have believed.

Citing political scientist David Faris’ new book, It’s Time to Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics, Rob Goodman's recent Politico piece is from a man after my own heart.
Grant statehood to D.C. and Puerto Rico, and break California in seven, with the goal of adding 16 new Democrats to the Senate. Expand the Supreme Court and the federal courts, packing them with liberal judges. Move to multi-member House districts to roll back the effects of partisan gerrymandering. Pass a new Voting Rights Act, including nationwide automatic voter registration, felon enfranchisement and an end to voter ID laws. Grant citizenship to millions of undocumented immigrants, creating a host of new Democratic-leaning voters: “Republicans have always feared that immigration would change the character of American society. Democrats should reward them with their very worst nightmare.” 
Amen.
Granted, there’s at least a plausible case to be made that a “spiral of conflict” is a bad model to describe the state we’re in, because Republicans do not look to Democrats for permission or precedent before breaking norms. There was no precedent for the theft of the Supreme Court seat now occupied by Gorsuch; there was no provocation for purging voter rolls or suppressing turnout. Given this asymmetry, isn’t the idea that Democrats are responsible for stopping an escalating spiral the worst kind of both-sides-ism? I don’t think so. If the Normal Is Over caucus can imagine a unified, genuinely radical Democratic government in the next four or eight years, they’re also responsible for imagining an enraged opposition, strong in the conviction that the Democratic government is illegitimate. We saw exactly that the last time there was a Democratic government. And we can fully expect next time to be worse, because the culture of self-restraint is weakened with each iteration of the cycle. 
If only the Dems weren’t so chickenshit and had the balls and ovaries to see this thru…

[Politico: Hey Democrats, Fighting Fair For Is For Suckers]

Friday, July 20, 2018

"Exactly who are these people, and what have they done with my party?"

Former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough questions the identity of the current GOP in a WaPo OpEd piece.

Quote of the Day

"The rest of us have to come to grips with the fact that there is no real mystery any more. The president* of the United States is a reckless vandal who is in thrall to a man whose only real goal in life is to loot his own failing country and hobble this one. Putin is a brutal con-man who has found a transparently bad one that he can play like a cheap violin. How the president* got into this situation almost seems irrelevant at this point; there well may be a video of some icky water-sports in a Moscow hotel, but I still think it’s all about money that Russians needed to clean, and that the president* needed to keep his Potemkin empire afloat. In that context, this latest, scarcely believable plot twist has a certain mad logic to it. In for a dime, in for a ruble." 

 - Charles P. Pierce, in Esquire magazine.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Overwhelming Majority of GOPers Approve of Trump's Helsinki Debacle

A recent poll found that 79% of Republicans approve of the president’s handling of the Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin. And 85% of them believe probing into Russia’s meddling in our elections is a distraction.

Anyone surprised? Anyone still think these are people who can be reasoned with and not sycophantic worshippers at the feet of their orange-hued Last Great White Hope? Wake the fuck up! Democrats have to get out the vote and bring along as many as Independents as possible. Period.

The poll found disapproval among Democrats at 91% and Independents at 62%. The overall tally was 58% disapproval and 40% approval.

Republicans Block Subpoena for Helsinki Summit Translator

If anyone needed further proof that talk is cheap, they can refer to the condemnation and outrage by certain GOP lawmakers in the wake of Trump's treasonous performance in Helsinki, which they backed by blocking a move to subpoena the translator in the room during the recent private meeting between Trump and Putin. Democrats sought to lean what was discussed in the private meeting, in light of Trump's betraying and dangerous sycophantic defense of Putin afterwards, fearing Trump may have gravely compromised national security in the process.

So much for patriotism over politics, eh, Republicans?

[NYT: Republicans Block Subpoena for Helsinki Summit Translator]

Make America Hungry Again

Under the bullshit argument that the economy is thriving and therefore government assistance should be reduced, Republicans want to cut food stamps (aka the SNAP program). I agree.

The vast majority of the folks enrolled in SNAP are Trump supporting red staters, so let them eat their MAGA hats.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Hope For The Best, Plan For The Worst

In the aftermath of President Trump’s disgraceful and treasonous display of fealty to Vladimir Putin, there has been much bipartisan backlash, even from staunch defenders like the folks over at Fox News. And while many see this as a turning point, the crossing of a line that could not be crossed, I’m not so sure. First of all, verbal condemnation is not tangible censure and even the Republican lawmakers and party elders who disagree with Trump are too afraid of a party base that is wrapped in a vicious cult of personality to do anything conclusive and/or decisive. That leaves the Democrats.

OK, what other options are there?

Seriously, tho, Chumpbots are not going to flinch in their support of this POTUS, even if he is indeed proven guilty of treason. You see, if Putin and his minions in fact pushed the election towards Trump, they have the Russian thug to thank for the man who they see as their Great White Hope against the tide of diversity, equality and tolerance. In other words, if Putin made Trump’s presidency a reality, then in the eyes of these people Putin can do no wrong. So, appealing to their sense of patriotism vis-à-vis Trump’s acceptance—or abetting—of Russian electoral meddling is a non-starter.

As I have stated before, I see only two options at this point.

First is keeping Trump off the ballot in as many states as possible, until he produces his tax returns (which he won’t), and limiting his chances of winning or even running in 2020.

If this isn’t legal or feasible for whatever reason, then one word: Alabama. And by that I mean mounting a nationwide effort to replicate the groundswell of support that made Doug Jones senator over the despicable Roy Moore in that incredibly red state. How? By getting as many Democratic voters to the polls, both now and in 2020, and by any means possible. Of course, the catch is once again—you guessed it—Russia.

“We’ll see”, said the blind man.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Trump Surprised By Averse Reaction to Putin Meeting

Stable genius? More like clueless idiot.

CNN:
Immediately after his news conference, Trump's mood was buoyant, people familiar with the matter said. He walked off stage in Helsinki with little inkling his remarks would cause the firestorm they did, and was instead enthusiastic about what he felt was a successful summit. By the time he'd returned to the White House just before 10 p.m. ET on Monday, however, his mood had soured. Predictably, the President was upset when he saw negative coverage of the summit airing on television aboard Air Force One. It was clear he was getting little support, even from the usual places.
Good fucking grief.

NY Daily News Calls Out 'Benedict Donald'







When it comes to bashing the Pussy Grabber in Chief, my hometown paper (and Trump's) does not disappoint. Read the editorial, too.



Monday, July 16, 2018

Trump Genuflection Before Putin Calls For Drastic Measures

I don't know if it's legally possible, but after another one of Trump's "both sides" bullshit pronouncements, this time as an excuse for previously icy Russian-American relations, states must go forward with their threat to exclude Trump from election ballots until he produces his tax returns. (And make this a permanent thing going forward.) Because at this point, no sane person, whether they admit to it or not, is under the impression that Putin doesn't have dirt on Trump. And those tax returns are the skeleton key to unraveling the nefarious nature of Trump's otherwise unexplainable fealty to Putin.

Now, please.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Rosenstein Weighs In On Indictment of Russian Dirty Dozen

During his press conference this past Friday, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein said the following regarding Bob Mueller's indictment of 12 Russian intelligence agents involved in meddling with the 2016 presidential election:
“When we confront foreign interference in American elections, it is important for us to avoid thinking politically as Republicans or Democrats and instead to think patriotically as Americans. Our response must not depend on which side was victimized.”
That last sentence is key.

Rosenstein is clearly avoiding stating the fact that the side which was obviously victimized is not the one in power, thus tiptoeing around the legitimacy of the current administration, much to the displeasure of Democrats everywhere. But he's also sending a message to Trump acolytes that his presidency might be built on quicksand and to prepare accordingly.

"We'll see", said the blind man.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

What's Fake Is Your Presidency, Chump

If there's one thing that Robert Mueller's recent indictment of 12 Russian intelligence agents makes perfectly clear is that Putin's Puppet was aided and abetted by members of his campaign and Russian agents in order to rig the 2016 election. 17 US intelligence agencies had already come to that conclusion but this indictment has laid it bare in stunning detail.

Donald Trump's ascension to the presidency was rigged. And, as such, illegitimate. No amount of spin can claim otherwise. As Lucian K. Truscott IV states in Salon:
Anybody who gets elected to office in this country with the help of the intelligence agents of a foreign power has been elected illegitimately. It’s not a tough call. Donald Trump is president because Vladimir Putin wanted him to be. He acts like he owes Putin every single day. Twelve agents of the Russian intelligence service the GRU didn’t do all that spearphishing and email disseminating all by themselves. They did it on orders from Putin. That’s why Trump owes Putin. Read it for yourself. It’s right there in the indictment.
One can only imagine what else Mueller has in store. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Today's GOP: Make America Racist Again (and again and again and again and...)

To get a feel for his would-be colleagues, Grossman should hang out with his fellow congressional aspirants. Oh, wait, that's right: they're anti-Semites. My bad.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Strzok Ain't Gonna Roll Over For You, Gowdy Doody

South Carolina congressman, Curt “Benghazi!” Gowdy, who happens to be the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is a two-bit hustler with a law degree, who believes his former professional life as a prosecutor gives him carte blanche to bully and railroad those who by virtue of doing their jobs become obstacles in his efforts to politicize and dismantle our country and institutions in the name of partisanship. It didn’t work with HRC and it really didn’t pan out with FBI agent and go-to villain of the tin-foil hat wearing Chump apologist lot Peter Strzok, who appeared before the committee while ably and stridently defending himself from the chicanery and hackery that is Gowdy’s stock in trade.

Yeah, people are just not gonna take your shit, Gowdy Doody.

 

Patriotic Correctness Will Doom Us All

GQ:
It’s actually quite shrewd to troop-ify every other armed public servant, as far as Trump’s feeble, damp brain is concerned. He’s hardly the first politician to play up the bravery of men in uniform and then use them as a kind of human shield (his boy Rudy Giuliani has been a walking 9/11 billboard for 17 years now), and he won’t be the last. When people like Trump want to deflect criticism of the missions tasked to our armed forces and law-enforcement agencies, they go ahead and remind people that the officers involved are in harm’s way (never mind the potential harm they may cause others) and that you, the civilian, are a wuss who has sacrificed nothing and has no right to criticize someone willing to serve their country. That latter sentiment is effective because, of course, there’s truth in it. I have not served in the military, and I have the standard male guilt complex about not having fought in a war when my forebears did. Trump, with his five deferments, apparently suffers from no such guilt... 
Keep in mind that the Trump administration is actively trying to privatize the VA and fuck over veterans while this is all happening. You can apparently support the troops now without actually supporting them, and doing so makes you more infallible than the troops themselves... 
And with Trump spreading hate every fucking day on TV, it’s not gonna get any better. Because when you create a culture where the troops—and other agencies that are unofficially deputized as such—can essentially do no wrong, you’re giving them carte blanche to do as they please, even when a majority of the public is vehemently against it... 
Wait till Trump’s power is legitimately threatened and he steers this metaphorical battleship into anyone else who dares challenge his authority. That’s going to happen, because we have glorified the troops and ordained them as holy defenders against every last kind of international bogeyman, and it’s going to cost us everything. You are being constantly disgraced and ripped off by this administration, but who’s gonna defend you from it now? John Kelly? The police? ICE? ICE is supposedly serving this country right now by tearing families apart at the behest of the corrupt, and leaving scores of women and children broken, helpless, and alone. That deserves no support. That deserves no salute. In fact, there’s a word for the kind of people who would voluntarily cause such misery: animals.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Monday News Wrap

Donald Trump’s collusion with Russia might be deeper and greater than imagined. [New York]

Despite claims by Trump and his administration that ICE is putting away the bad guys, the agency has been following a pattern of indiscriminate arrests including DUI, traffic tickets and other minor offenses. [HuffPo]

Two members of Theresa May’s cabinet resign over Brexit delivering a tough blow to the British PM. [Reuters]

Ivanka Trump’s Chinese-made products are spared from Daddy’s tariff war with China. [Daily Dot] Meanwhile, Morning Joe pointedly counters Rudy Giuliani’s assertions of the Mueller probe being corrupt by enumerating Trump’s numerous corrupt practices over the last year and a half. [YouTube]

Congressional watchdogs are calling for the Office of Congressional Ethics to conduct an inquiry into whether Rep. Jim Jordan [R-OH] ignored complaints of sexual harassment from members Ohio State’s wrestling team. [Dayton Daily News]

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Jim Jordan, Do You Need A Calculator For Your Story?

This doesn't add up.

So, as has been reported everywhere, numerous members of the Ohio State University wrestling team were the victims of rape and sexual assault during a 20 year span from 1978-1998, primarily at the hands of Richard Strauss, the university’s former athletic doctor, who committed suicide in 2005. Congressman Jim Jordan [R-OH], who was the team's assistant coach from 1986 to 1994, a timeline that coincides with much of the abuse reported against Strauss, claims he knew nothing about the alleged abuse and vehemently denies that any of the victims came to him with their accusations.

But as Politico reports...
The situation was so egregious that former wrestling head coach Russ Hellickson would at times have to physically drag the gawkers out of the building, several sources familiar with his actions at the time said. Hellickson also pleaded with the university multiple times to move their athletes to a private facility, the sources said. Jordan served as Hellickson’s No. 2, and the coach has been described as Jordan’s mentor. 
“I never knew about any type of abuse,” Jordan said in an interview this week. “If I did, I would have done something about it.” 
Jordan's boss and mentor was actively trying to protect their guys from sexual predators but Jordan was in the dark about the whole thing. And no one complained to him about it. Yeah, OK.

Except...
Multiple former wrestlers have accused Jordan, a National Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee, of being among the faculty members who turned a blind eye to inappropriate behavior by the late Richard Strauss, the university’s former athletic doctor. Strauss allegedly preyed on male students during physicals, groping them to the point of making them ejaculate, according to one nurse who witnessed it and recounted the story in a video produced by alleged victims and obtained by POLITICO...Dunyasha Yetts, a former champion wrestler at the university...said he was easily the most vocal person on the team to complain about Strauss...Yetts claimed he not only told Jordan about Strauss’ behavior, but asked Jordan and Hellickson to confront the doctor with him.
As an assistant coach he let a pervert roam free and now, in his powerful position as leader of the Congressional Freedom Caucus, he's helping a traitor get off scot-free. Jordan is an example of what the corrupt, immoral GOP considers family values and patriotism. To call them disgusting is to celebrate them.

Friday, July 6, 2018

The Year of The Woman: MJ Hegar

The former combat veteran, running as a Democrat against a Republican incumbent congressman in a deep red Texas district, distills her life story in a stunning campaign ad.

 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Next SCOTUS: Not Just Roe v Wade but Trump vs USA, Too

Yertle the Turtle rolled over Obama on the Merrick Garland nomination to the SCOTUS ostensibly because it was an election year. Well, guess what? This is an election year, Democrats. (In case you may have forgotten.) But aside from the long-term implications of a conservative leaning court, which is already bad enough, there's the slight matter of a president who is under investigation picking a Supreme Court justice who might very well weigh in on said president's case. In other words, Trump is going to pick someone who might side with him if it gets dicey vis-a-vis the Mueller investigation.

The GOP fears a Democratic landslide victory or at least losing their majority in Congress in the midterms and the very real possibility that the SCOTUS might have to, in some capacity, step into the Mueller investigation. This is why they are accelerating the process. So, if the Dems have any semblance of a spine left, derailing this trainwreck at any cost is the only proper course of action.

"We'll see", said the blind man.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Barack Obama's Dilemma

I could never really reconcile Barack Obama's belief that we were, as a country, good people with some notable exceptions, with my understanding that the evil, resentful folks were quite numerous, not a fraction; that they were legion and quite simply, just not in the spotlight, but lurking in the shadows and waiting to pounce. The election of a black president took care of that. That they supported and continue to rally behind a man who inflames the politics of division and fear and whose slogan is a thinly-veiled call for a return to an era when only the straight, Christian, white man had any voice or power, and who kicked off his political career by questioning the citizenship of the first black POTUS, well, that is not a coincidence by any stretch of the imagination.

But, at the time, I thought, "If this, in my opinion, misguided concept of the United States of America is what inspires Obama to keep pushing on, more power to him."

Sadly, this ugly side of the US, thriving with every passing day it seems, is confirmation to our international detractors that we are the greedy, ignorant, pompous, racist hypocrites they've always seen us as. Trump is undoubtedly the Ugly American stereotype come to life to grab the White House, but his millions of followers underline the fact he's not alone and has tapped deeply into the vast sea of deplorables.

I was reminded of all this as I read the esteemed Charles P. Pierce today.
Obama never really understood the American people the way they are. He understood them the way he wanted them to be. The constant appeals to the country’s better angels rang hollow through history; even Lincoln couldn’t really summon them, because he got shot in the head, and then Andrew Johnson found political advantage in stirring up the race hatred that still burned throughout the country. The Cynic still believes, as he wrote the first time that he considered the phenomenon of Barack Obama:  
"Why would anyone have faith in America, which is not tough but fearful, not smart but stupid, and not shrewd but willing to fall for almost anything as long it comes wrapped in a flag? Why would anyone have faith in Americans? Barack Obama says that he has that faith because of his own life, because he was able to rise to the point where he can be thought of as president of the United States. He is the country's walking absolution. That's his reason, the cynic thinks, but it's not mine. There has to be confession. There has to be penance. Being Barack Obama is not enough. Not damn close to enough. And it wasn’t. Virulent racism and crazy conspiracy theories attended his every move for eight years. One of the craziest was pushed by the guy who became his successor. This was not an accident."
All of the forces that produced the current president* were on vivid display during Obama’s eight years in office—the racism, the xenophobia, the lust for “taking our country back.” Guys with guns used to stalk the parking lots of arenas in which Obama was speaking. For eight years, Obama was presented with prima facie evidence that everything he said in that famous speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention was sadly wrong, that his optimism was misplaced, and that the better angels of our nature were, as they are from time to time, off-duty or rolling sevens in Vegas.
The 44th POTUS is out making speeches, emailing Democratic constituencies and exhorting us all to put up a fight in light of the further destruction of our beloved country by the toxic orange cloud and its henchmen. But I've got to wonder, is Obama's recent presence on the national stage, part of his trying to still convince us of his view of a united state of America that, frankly, never existed? Is he attempting to make amends for not fighting enough and by virtue of inertia being somewhat complicit in this disaster? Is he embarrassed he got played by the GOP on the ACA? Is he regretting not standing defiantly behind Merrick Garland's nomination? Is he ashamed he let Mitch McConnell con him into not alerting the American public of the Russian election meddling? I hope so.

Yes, he was and is a good man. I, for the most part, continue to be proud of the job he did as my president. And the disrespect he was subjected to, essentially for being a man of color who dared to become POTUS, I will NEVER forget and will NEVER forgive the perpetrators of such assaults on his character and his family. But the dude fucked up some major shit by not being the stereotypical Angry Negro his foes, admittedly, were salivating to peg him as. But sometimes you just gotta say fuck it. And now, it's too late.

[Esquire: Barack Obama Needs To Get His Hands Dirty]

I Want A New Drug

Over the last few decades, western society, if not the world at large, has been moving in a more inclusive, open-minded, tolerant direction....