David Brooks Can't Figure Out Recent History

Sometimes, a line of writing from something sticks in your craw like a poorly-chewed piece of popcorn. No matter how hard you try, you can't get it to stop poking your insides. One such line came from today's New York Times, on the mighty opinion pages. It was from David Brooks's latest column (if by "column," you mean, "an ongoing chronicle of despair, loneliness, and failure from a mind unwilling to admit just how goddamned wrong he has been for years"), wherein Brooks waxes Brooksishly about how "This Century Is Broken."

Nominally, the photo that accompanied the article would have annoyed the shit out of me. It's of "a shuttered business in downtown Wilkes-Barre, Pa." The last time I was in Wilkes-Barre was in 1995; those stores were shuttered even then and had been for a long damn time. But the use of that photo was not David Brooks's fault, although, fuck, it's pretty much par for the course for the column.

No, the line that has nagged at me all fucking day, like a splinter under my fingernail, came after Brooks told us that "between 1948 and 2000 the U.S. economy grew at a per-capita rate of about 2.3 percent a year," as an article in Commentary by Nicholas Eberstadt he read told him. Then, still summarizing, in the six words that made me want to punch my iPhone screen, Brooks observes, "But then around 2000, something shifted." Are you fucking kidding? You might expect the most obvious answer in the world here, especially as Brook continues, "In this century, per-capita growth has been less than 1 percent a year on average, and even since 2009 it’s been only 1.1 percent a year."

"Something shifted" in 2000. Something changed. Starting in 2000. The end of 2000, if you look at the Commentary piece. Something that we haven't recovered from. God, what could have happened? Brooks throws all kinds of things at us then, about demographics and shifting priorities of workers and millennials. Eberstadt talks about economic inequality as a factor, something that Brooks fails to mention. But, really, and come the fuck on here. Is this that difficult to figure out?

Here's the fun part: Brooks, like Eberstadt, leaves out one key word, one word that would do more to explain the mystery of slow growth, than any other statistic or fake psychological insight. And that word is "Republican."

For fuck's sake, in 2000, George W. Bush was appointed president, and his policies quickly, in 2001, took the economy back to the fucking Gilded Age, with tax cuts, unfunded mandates, and, what do you call it, two motherfucking useless wars, and Republicans have done their goddamnedest to ensure that the fuckery done by the Bush years wouldn't be set right by the Obama administration and Democrats. Brooks was a wet-pantied cheerleader, rubbing himself on George W. Bush's groin back in 2001, so maybe he's still distracted by his unslaked lust.

Practically every shitty thing that Brooks describes can be directly attributable to Republican policies (with some aiding and abetting by some Democrats) that dicked over the working and middle classes in this country. The end of social mobility that Brooks mourns from his mansion was an intended effect of the deregulation mania that started in the Reagan era and was put into high gear in the W. Bush reign of "Fuck You, Proles" economics. We're heading back to those good times now with Trump.

If you leave out Republicans, whether in action in the Bush years or in intransigence in the Obama presidency, then you are willfully blind, willfully ignorant, and pathetically deluded. Which, come to think of it, are generally the abiding principles of a David Brooks column.

(Note: Thanks to the good Driftglass for the reminder of Brooks's days of fucking the quarterback.)


Things That Wouldn't Have Been Surprising for Trump to Do at His Fucked-Up Press Conference

Donald Trump's press conference yesterday was so weird, so disconcerting, and so filled with lies and fantasies and violent imagery that it wouldn't have been surprising if...

1. Trump had presented the corpse of a man tortured and killed by ISIS and put on a ventriloquist act with the body as his Charlie McCarthy, asking it, "Do you wish President Obama had wiped out ISIS?" and making the bloodstained head nod and the lips move and, in an awful accent that would best be described as "a bad version of Achmed the Dead Terrorist," answered, "Yes, most wonderful and sexy Donald Trump. Only you can save us Christians from being boiled alive and having our heads cut off."

2. Trump had looked at the orthodox Jewish reporter from Ami magazine (motto: "What? You don't love Israel with your whole being, you shmendrik?") and said, "You wanna see how anti-Semitic I am? Watch this" and taken out his dick and a small knife and recircumsized himself, adding "You see that? Who loves the Jews more than me?" before throwing the piece of of his dick at the media and snarling, "Fake news!"

3. Trump had asked a black reporter if she is friends with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and that she should arrange a meeting for him with the CBC, as if the black woman was his secretary. (Oh, wait. He really did do that to April Ryan of the American Urban Radio Networks.)

4. Trump had said, "You wanna see how much I don't care about Russia?" and then phoned Vladimir Putin on his unsecured Android phone, asking, "Is your refrigerator running?" and awaiting an answer before adding, "Well, then you better catch it," hanging up, and telling the reporters, "See? You keep saying 'Trump loves Putin,' 'Trump loves Putin.' Would a man who is friends with Putin prank him so viciously? That's the best prank you ever saw, by the way" before whispering behind him, "Call and apologize, Bannon, now."

5. Trump had explained, "You know what uranium is, right? This thing called nuclear weapons like lots of things are done with uranium including some bad things." (Oh, wait. He really did says that, right after lying that Hillary Clinton "gave" Russia "20 percent of our uranium," as if the Secretary of State could just hand over a giant stockpile of an element.)

6. Trump had dropped his pants and taken a shit on a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton while sputtering about "306. You didn't expect me to get to 222, 250, but 306," shouting, "Greatest electoral victory" as he tried to squeeze out just a little more.

7. Trump had locked the doors, ordered a band to start playing "Rains of Castamere," and then watched while the reporters from Breitbart, Fox, CBN, and Gateway Pundit stabbed to death all the mainstream media, having Jim Acosta's throat cut last as he smirked and said, "Not so fake now."

8. Trump had claimed that he fired Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser even though Flynn's contact with Russia wasn't "wrong," according to Trump, but instead said Flynn was fired for lying to Vice President Mike Pence, even though Trump knew that Flynn had been lying to Pence two weeks before Pence found out, which would seem to mean that, by his own standard, Trump should fire himself. (Yeah, you guessed it. That clusterfuck of illogic really happened.)

9. Trump had jacked off silently and with his eyes closed for about twenty minutes in response to a question about leaks until he finally seemed to ejaculate as he proclaimed, "I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we’ve done."

10. Trump had ranted and raved while saying that the press would say, "Donald Trump rants and raves at the press," while ranting that he wasn't ranting, as Republicans behind the scenes were pissing themselves at the display of ignorance, hate, and self-aggrandizement that was on display and the right-wing media and his supporters praised Trump's performance as the greatest thing in the history of anyone ever talking to the press ever and everything just got a little sadder as we head into President's Day weekend and think, "Are you fucking serious? Are you fucking serious?"


Trump's Insidious Immigration Raids Get More Harmful by the Day

A half-dozen Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested an undocumented transgender woman at an El Paso courthouse last week just after she had received a restraining order against the man who had beaten her. Here's whole truth: the woman has a record for crimes like stealing mail and allegedly assault, and she's been deported a half dozen times. That shouldn't matter, but you'll hear about it when this case is discussed, so let's not hide anything.

Here's the wholer truth: Her criminal record was described as "non-violent" by El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal, and there were no outstanding state court warrants for the woman's arrest.

Here's the wholest truth: The woman had reported three incidents of domestic abuse, each worse than the previous one. "This is a woman who had suffered serious abuse," Bernal told the local press. "This was a victim of horrible domestic violence," said the judge who had just given the woman a protective order against her ex-boyfriend. She suffered one more abuse at his hands because it was her ex, himself in custody for another crime, who likely tipped off ICE about the immigration status of the woman he was beating. She was living at the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence, which provides emergency shelter for individuals and families.

Of the myriad fuckeries that the Trump administration has engaged in, the arrest and deportation of undocumented immigrants with minor or no criminal records or even with DACA protections is the most insidious because it is presented as doing good while, quite plainly and quite intentionally, tearing apart families and sending people with no ties to their country of origin back to often terrible lives. And the case of this woman in El Paso, whose name is listed only as IEG on the order, is particularly insidious because not only does it serve no purpose, but it does real and actual harm.

Because what the fuck does this accomplish? IEG is just one more immigrant to be added to a total that Donald Trump can proclaim as a demonstration of strength as he bumblefucks through a hopefully brief presidency. He'll say they're only deporting the worst criminals or some such bullshit. But it's such a lie. See, as Bernal and Judge Yahara Lisa Gutierrez have said, what this arrest does is drive undocumented domestic violence sufferers away from seeking protections.

In fact, to take this further, any undocumented immigrant who is a victim of violence now can assume that going to the police or to a court would result in deportation, so they must suffer in silence. To go even further, this goes for children of undocumented parents, too. They can assume that if Dad is beating the shit out of them, Mom will be sent back to Mexico if they turn Dad in. To go even further, you can say that it's open season on undocumented immigrants because they likely won't report crimes. And to go just a little further, undocumented immigrants can tell you to go fuck yourself if they see a crime where you're the victim because helping you, even by getting a cop, can result in their arrest and deportation. And fuck testifying in court.

The price of Trump's crackdown on undocumented people in the United States is going to be more crime and, frighteningly, more unreported violence. Trump is saying that he doesn't give a shit about anything other than raising his numbers of deportations, consequences be damned. Fuck women, fuck families, fuck crime, fuck all the blood that will be spilled because of it.

When the next backwards ass, Trump-loving, Christian fuck asks me, "What would Jesus do?" I'll answer, "Jesus would rip Trump's tiny dick off and feed it to pigs." And when that Christian fuck wonders what happened to turning the other cheek, I'd tell him, "At this point, even Jesus would say, 'I've only got so many cheeks, motherfucker, and they're all used up.'"


Photos of Trump That Assure Us That We're All Gonna Die

That right there is the motherfucking president of the motherfucked United States of America, seated and grinning while grim pandemonium goes on around him. And he's at a dinner at his golf resort in Florida, where he spent the weekend golfing. The dinner is for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, who also golfed with the president, who happens to be a persimmon-topped wrecking ball named Donald Trump.

At dinner, the president and the PM were enjoying a salad. More precisely, they were enjoying "Mr. Trump's Wedge Salad," which is a chunk of iceberg lettuce coated in blue cheese dressing, bacon, and more blue cheese. Essentially, it's just edible plastic conveying cheese and bacon and cream to your bloodstream. Then, oh, the inconveniences of being president, North Korea tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile that landed in the Sea of Japan. It's kind of a big fucking deal because, see, North Korea has nukes and a mad leader with no checks on his madness, and Japan would be right in the crosshairs of any attack. Goddamnit, what about the main course?

So everyone leapt into action to find out more and figure out how to respond to a direct provocation. That's the flurry of activity you see up there. It's not, by the way, an effort to move the conversation to a more secure location. Oh, no, that'd interrupt dinner, and there was some goddamned meat on the way. Thus, in the middle of the dining area at a big golf club with tons of people watching, everyone with Trump and Abe started to read classified documents and talk about classified information. Even more fucked up was that the room was dimly lit so they used their goddamn cell phone flashlights to read the, let's say it again, classified information. Their phones. Pointed at the documents. Their easily-hackable phones. In the room where everything was being discussed. In front of dozens of civilians, many of whom were snapping photos of the events. As long as you paid your expensive dues, you could be there in that room. So, really, who the hell knows what agents of foreign governments could have been present?

This isn't about the level of transparency or whatever else you wanna make it about. Like so many things with Republicans, it's about the hypocrisy. Hillary Clinton's private email server was supposed to essentially allow ISIS to enter the country freely and kill all our dogs and enslave our wives. But here are seemingly multiple violations of any kind of safety protocols when it comes to dealing with classified material.

And even more fucked up is the center of this photo. President Trump, sitting calmly, not involved in any of the uproar, smiling and leaning on his hand, not a care in the entire goddamned world, preening and showing off for people who pay to be in his club, even as an American ally was facing what it considered to be an existential threat. Imagine that. Imagine so not giving a fuck that you couldn't even be bothered to pretend like this was a serious enough situation to not pose like a serene but stupid frog, let alone just take the fuckin' meeting to a private room. Imagine if President Oba...you know what? Fuck it. At this point, it's obvious that Republicans are mud-encrusted piglets, gleefully suckling at Trump's multiple teats while he gorges himself on the slops and shits all over the pen.

Trump is so removed from reality that, after making some brief remarks, he sauntered over to a wedding reception in Mar-a-Lago's ballroom to congratulate the newlyweds. And he really did say, "They've been members of this club for a long time. They've paid me a fortune."

And everyone just laughed like it was the most normal thing in the world.


Question to Trump Voters: Aren't You Just Embarrassed?

You know, I was halfway through writing a big piece that boiled down to "What if Donald Trump was a raging liberal who promised to do all the things I want? Would I be just ashamed to support him at this point?" I stopped because it was all so, so fucking obvious.

But I really want to know from Trump voters: Does any of this embarrass you? Any of the shit with Michael Flynn and Russia? Any of the ridiculous things Trump says, like threatening to "destroy the career" of a state legislator? Any of the ludicrous comments and promises he makes? His complete lack of understanding of the way the government actually functions? His complete lack of knowledge about the United States's relationships with other countries? The disastrous and unnecessary military mission in Yemen? The fact that he is literally doing the things he said he was going to do, like tearing families apart? The demonstrable lies? Does any of it make a dent with you?

I stopped, too, because I realized that it doesn't. And that reasoning with most Trump voters is like running a flea circus. You can fool people into thinking the fleas are doing tricks and acrobatics, but it's just fleas being fleas. Whatever frame you put on it, they're gonna do whatever the fuck they please.

Whenever we face the joke of a presidency we're forced to endure right now, we're not merely facing the pumpkinheaded doom goblin at the top. We're facing all of his supporters who are unmoved by any ethical lapse, any law broken at this point, even the Constitution itself. So we either have to write them off as a mad tribe that has taken over the temple and hope they orgy themselves to death or we have to reason with them, however terrible it might be to walk up to a group of convulsing idiots and ask them to listen to your insights you got from watching CNN.

The takeaway from the blog post was going to be that I'd like to think that I'd be embarrassed. I'd like to think that it would matter even if President Stumblefuck McBleedingheart was going to tax the wealthy more and rein in Wall Street and get rid of money in politics and spend shit-tons on infrastructure and alternate energies and make reversing climate change a top priority and attack poverty with education and jobs programs and on and on. If he was as dumbly evil and evilly dumb as Trump, I'd like to think I'd be able to say, "Yeah, but, holy fuckballs, man, can we just impeach him already?"

Shame is a powerful tool. We need to deploy it more and make Trump's ardent supporters feel like outcasts for denying reality.


One of the Stupidest Talking Points on the Right: Democrats Started the KKK

Yesterday, Texas Senator and a man who looks and sounds like the creepy neighbor who jacks off thinking about banging your mom, Ted Cruz, appeared on Fox "news" with burned-out bulb Bill Hemmer. They were talking about Senator Elizabeth Warren being shut down by Majority Leader Mitch "Neck Scrotum" McConnell for daring to call racist fucksack Jeff Sessions a racist fucksack by reading a letter from Coretta Scott King that said, in essence, "That Jeff Sessions is one racist sack of fuck."

Snarling with that look like he's smelling shit on his upper lip, Cruz exclaimed that Warren's attack was "slanderous" and that Democrats always call people "racist" when they don't agree with them. Then the Republican tossed out this: "The Democrats are the party of the Ku Klux Klan. You look at the most racist — you look at the Dixiecrats, they were Democrats who imposed segregation, imposed Jim Crow laws, who founded the Klan. The Klan was founded by a great many Democrats."

Many others have used this talking point to tar Democrats whenever a Republican or a racist conservative or a Nazi is losing an argument. Indeed, I regularly get idiot messages and bullshit memes about how Democrats supported slavery and Democrats started the KKK. But, you know, the facts are that it was more a regional thing than a party thing. Somehow, Republicans and racist conservatives and Nazis think that they can prove some nonsense about how liberalism is actually hate or some such shit. (And they always leave out the Compromise of 1877 that made all federal troops pull out of the South in return for Republican Rutherford...you know what? Google that shit.)

But even if Ted Cruz is right, so the fuck what? The Klan was started 150 years ago. There was always a split in northern and southern Democrats. By the time the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed, with Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater opposing it (and winning states in the south in the election), the Democratic Party had shifted pretty much completely, with the last vestiges of the racist side, the Dixiecrats, changing parties or dying out soon after. By the time we get to Reagan's election, and he campaigned on an explicitly racist platform, the then-called Reagan Democrats, the whites that had formerly voted Democratic, completed the transformation of the parties.

How the fuck is this talking point even valid? What does it succeed in doing? 50 years ago, the Democratic Party, for the most part, said a hearty "fuck you" to the white south that still to this day hoists its Confederate flags and celebrates a time when they could keep blacks separate, if not all the way back to when they were enslaved. And those motherfuckers are sure as shit ain't Democrats. (Yes, some Democrats are still conservatives who pander to the racist whites in their states or districts.)

Jesus, it's like Republicans and racist conservatives and Nazis (by the way, you know who kicked the actual Nazis' asses? A Democrat in a wheelchair) want to pretend that shit never changes. And if that was true, then they better talk to their president right now because does Trump realize that Russia wanted to wipe the United States off the map back in the 1960s? Oh, and 50 years ago, there was no fuckin' way some Cuban named "Cruz" would have been elected to the Senate from Texas. Oh, and Republicans 50 years ago were not all bugfuck insane. Hell, about half the Republicans in Congress voted for Medicare in 1965. How about bringing that shit up whenever Paul Ryan talks about gutting it like a snitch in the prison shower?

One last thing: There is another reason why Republicans and racist conservatives and Nazis want you to think that Democrats are the party of the KKK. They're saying none-too-subtly that non-white people are stupid because they support Democrats. See, Republicans can't be the racists, despite all the plainly racist policies they want because there is this one racist thing that they're not guilty of. It's a fuckin' low bar they've set for themselves and they barely crawl under it.

Oh, and let's not forget which party's candidate was literally endorsed by the KKK just last year, which, according to my math, is a fuck of a lot closer to now than 50 years ago.


Trump's Willing Victims: The Poor, Dumb Bastards of the White Working Class

I know we're all supposed to be freaking the fuck out over Donald Trump's mad desire for as much Putin dick as he can take. And I know we're suppsoed to be fact-checking the shit out of the administration's magical list of "terrorist attacks" that the horror-loving media supposedly didn't cover adequately, which can only mean "left out a call for a lynch mob," since the list contains some of the major events of the last couple of years. But there's an article that's stuck in my craw, something that is especially enraging in this time of an open spigot of anger.

Over at CNN's website, there's a piece titled "Trump gives America's 'poorest white town' hope." It's about Beattyville, Kentucky, a town that's on the ass end of nowhere in Appalachia and a place that used to rely on coal mining until that dried up sometime in the George W. Bush administration (and, no, it wasn't mean ol' white-hating, tree-huggin' Obama that did it). And these dirt poor fuckers, addicted to opioids, racist up to their tits, and utterly reliant on the government for welfare, health care, and most of the jobs in the area, believe that Donald motherfuckin' Trump is gonna be their savior.

The whole article is a look at how liberal policies, you know, shit that was done by Democrats, have pretty much been the only things keeping the townspeople alive and how goddamned deluded they are to that fact. For instance, "Beattyville residents want jobs, especially ones that pay more than the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. They think if anyone can bring jobs back, it's Trump." It's so blindingly stupid and counter to everything that Trump and Republicans talk about. You know what's one way to make sure that you don't get a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour? You raise the goddamned minimum wage, you know, like most Democrats want.

On and on the article goes. We learn that "57% of households receive food stamps and 58% get disability payments from Social Security." And since hope is something that knows no rationality, "'I hope [Trump] don't take the benefits away, but at the same time, I think that once more jobs come in a lot of people won't need the benefits,' says [25 year-old Amber] Hayes, who currently receives about $500 a month from government assistance. She's also on Obamacare."

What do you say to Amber? Do you tell her that believing that Trump will create more jobs is as much a fantasy as Hillary Clinton's murders? Do you say that, if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, she's fucked, as she is if Paul Ryan's budget, with cuts to government assistance programs, gets passed?

They believe that Trump is some kind of demi-god who will magically create jobs and make their lives better. "'I believe he wants to take care of us, the little people,' says [a] gas station manager. 'I think he's going to quit giving money to all these other countries and take care of America. I truly do.'" No, you dumb shit, he's gonna give the money to himself, his family, and his friends. If a few coins drop on the floor for you to scrounge for, well, there you go.

And who knows how to change their minds. The death of coal mining jobs has also meant the death of any hope for union involvement. So all they've got is prejudice, talk radio, and alienation. And drugs. You can't forget the drugs. Goddamn, Mitch McConnell told Beattyville residents to their faces that bringing jobs to eastern Kentucky was "not my job" and they still voted for him.

Essentially, the people of Beattyville are refugees living in our country. They are utterly dependent on the government. They have been abused and abandoned by the forces of capitalism. And they exist in an area of deep poverty and crime. The kindest thing we could do for them as a nation is buy their houses and land and relocate them to somewhere where there are some fucking jobs. Because you're not gonna shit out a new industry that'll make Beattyville boom, unless there is big time investment in tourism (truth be told, it's in a goddamn beautiful area).

Coal is done, as I've said, as everyone who isn't a fucking maniac president has said, including the coal companies. It's either been lapped by natural gas or automation has taken over for the miners.

But for the poor who voted for Trump, you are going to be punched in the face repeatedly by your own fists. And you'll come running to Democrats to help you, and we will, 'cause that's who the hell we are, and then you'll run right back to the racist pricks because that's just who the fuck you are: ungrateful, uneducated bastards who have been brainwashed so thoroughly that you don't realize who is stabbing you and who is trying to get your wounds healed, willing victims asking, "Please, may I have another" as the knife is twisted in your gut.