Monday, February 22, 2021


The horrific conditions in Texas should go down as a lesson on what happens when Republicans get to be in charge for a prolonged period of time. Texas is basically a Republican playground; they get to do whatever they want.

And what Republicans want is to make as much money from selling you power as they possibly can. So they have, as I’m sure you’ve heard by now, an isolated and deregulated power grid. The goal is to provide power cheaply, which is not to be confused with “reliably.” That’s a whole different story.

They could have spent some money on winterizing their equipment in case of a catastrophic winter storm, but then that would have eaten into the profits. So why bother?

And they could continue to operate some of their systems to provide electricity, but they’d have to do it at a loss. So why bother?

You know how Republicans are always talking about cutting regulations? This is what happens when Republicans have their way with regulations and leave it up to“The Market” to regulate business. The businesses have a great fiscal quarter while “the people” freeze to death in their living rooms. That’s the Republican Way.

Government regulations are the only things keeping companies from operating sweatshops and paying pauper’s wages. When Republicans campaign on cutting regulations, it’s not for your benefit, it’s for their benefactors’ benefit. So they try to sell it to you by calling it “red tape.”

Yes, red tape can be a real pain in the ass. But without it, you won’t feel the pain in your ass because it will have frozen off when the power goes off.

And what do they do when the power goes off because they declined to winterize their gear? They blame “green” energy and the “Green New Deal,” which laughably, hasn’t even been brought to a vote, let alone become a law. The windmills were some of the few things that still worked in Texas.

It’s really amazing when conservatives start talking about green energy because it just shows how little they know about it. They claim that the windmills won’t work in the cold and solar panels won’t work when it’s cloudy, both of which are patently false. They circulate bogus pictures of what they call lithium mines, (used in making electric car batteries) which are often actually copper mines. (Have they ever seen what happens when coal is strip-mined?)

All they know is that Fox “News” told them renewable energy is bad, (because that’s what Rupert Murdoch and the fossil fuel robber barons told them to do,) and elaborated on all the bizarre consequences we’d see if oil and gas markets were to diminish. So it must be true. Besides, criticizing green energy owns the Libs!

Maybe the thought of all us “owned Libs” will keep them warm when their furnaces won’t. If not, they can always take off to Cancun.


Seems the impeachment is still a bitter pill for the Right, so they’re getting themselves all jacked up to hold their own impeachment… they just can’t find anything tangible to impeach over.

This is nothing but a laundry list of things they tried to make into scandals but couldn’t. The headliner was investigated by 11 Congressional committees and they still couldn’t find enough to file charges. And the rest of them, even the most serious ones aren't anything but minor annoyances. Most are fabrications, banal issues they’ve tried to inflate via misinformation and missing context. There’s nothing that rises to the level of an impeachable offense, let alone match the heinousness of violently trying to overturn an election by hunting down and killing Congressmen and women with whom they disagree.

And you want to impeach Obama? Have at it. Obama’s place in history is secure. The only people whose reputations will suffer from such an attempt are the prospective impeachers themselves. If they can’t overturn an election with lies, they’ll try to lie their way through an impeachment, six years after the fact.

And speaking of old news:

Right off the bat, notice how the “2020” has been added after the fact. (It's in a different font.) This is an older cartoon, probably from the mid-term elections. Because in 2020, the Republicans didn’t even bother to create a platform. They just went, “We’re for whatever Trump says.”

But let’s briefly look at the details, shall we?

Border Security: Everyone wants border security, but to Republicans, that just means no more brown people can come in. The Wall, which was supposed to be the symbol of border security, was a disaster. Very little new wall was built; they mostly replaced old wall. The wall they did build was hardly impermeable. People who knew how could climb it with ease, as well as saw right through it. And like all walls, it could be run around, burrowed under, or flown over. Real secure, that wall. Face it, the highlight of the Republican Border Security Effort was how many people they could stuff into cages.

Boom Economy: Are you joking? Aside from the stock market, the Trump economy was a mess, even before COVID tanked it. There was little increase in wages, prices continued to rise, and people needed several jobs just to get by. All of Trump’s efforts went into tax cuts for the rich, which translated into gains in the stock market as companies bought up their own stock, rather than create more jobs or increase pay for the ones already there. And the scraps the rest of us got? They were designed to evaporate over time.

Better Trade: Another joke. Trump’s trade wars cost Americans money because he’s not smart enough to know who pays for tariffs. And then China found other people who would sell them grain or meat, so American farmers had to take government handouts too. Gee, what a business genius!

Infrastructure: I’m dying here. What exactly did the Trump Administration do for infrastructure? There were no roads bills, no bills to repair bridges or shore up our power grid. The only thing even close to something that can be considered infrastructure would be the small section of crappy Wall they built on the southern border. With 100% control of the government, Republicans didn’t do jack shit for the country’s infrastructure. If I were them, I’d be embarrassed to even bring up the topic, let alone publicize it as an accomplishment.

And as far as the Democratic platform goes, they don’t have enough room on the sign to hold it all. I’ve written about it extensively. They wish hating Trump was all we had.

Now a couple of quick ones:

Yes, God cares so much about a canceled oil pipeline deal that He sent an Arctic blast, just like the ones we get on a regular basis. God must be an oilman, I guess. This is fucking ridiculous. If he were the meddling type, wouldn’t he just have Biden undo the cancelation? Or maybe eliminate the Coronavirus?

Why not just sign your name, “I Don’t Know How the Government Works.” This is too stupid to even debunk. All I’ll say is, “How many executive orders did Trump sign while he had both sides of Congress for two years?” (The answer? A lot.) Now sit down and shut up, the grownups are talking.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Mitch, Please!

As expected, we all saw the prospect of an impeachment convicted president go swirling down the toilet this weekend. I almost raised my hopes by a smidgeon at the early Saturday report that there were going to be witnesses. But that evaporated into the ether along with the backbones of 43 Republican senators.

Then to further muddy the water, Mitch McConnell gets up and rails about how Trump was responsible for the Capitol onslaught. I was thinking, “Mitch, didn’t you just have an opportunity to put some meaning behind that claim just a bit ago?

But I see Mitch’s game plan. Sure, he doesn’t want Trump to continue sullying the GOP’s reputation… that’s HIS job. No, really, Mitch wants the guy gone, but he DOESN’T want the responsibility of having done something about it himself. He’s trying to avoid having the MAGA idiots come looking for him, so he’s trying to thread the needle by voting to acquit, to calm the riffraff, and then kicking it to the courts, to save face with the rational people.

It’s all so very principled and courageous, isn’t it?

Mitch will always do whatever it takes to acquire, solidify and maintain power, regardless of the logical paradoxes it creates. If he has to rail against Point A for six months and then turn on a dime to promote the same idea if it should suddenly serve his purpose, he’ll do it and not lose a minute’s sleep over it. (See: Supreme Court Nominations.)

Now we’re being treated to the sight of Trump claiming he’s been vindicated because of course he is. To him, whether he wins or loses, he claims victory, overwhelming victory, landslide victory. In this case, he won over 86% of people from his own party and 0% of opponents. There was no question as to his guilt or innocence. The House Managers had this case signed, sealed, and delivered.

So the Republicans in the Senate clung to the idea that it was unconstitutional to impeach a former president, even though the Senate had just declared by vote that it was indeed constitutional at the beginning of the week.

See, this is the of bending of reality embodied by Mitch McConnell. And for him, it was even more twisted. He refused to schedule the trial before Trump left office, and then cited his not being in office as a reason to acquit. I mean, the guy’s completely shameless.

It’s a tactic the Trump Administration adopted for themselves, to try to influence the election:

·        Spend months claiming mail-in ballots were rife with fraud, were unreliable, and were to be avoided.

·        Assign a lackey to run the Post Office, who takes direct action to slow down mail delivery, to ensure poor performance and erode confidence in the institution.

·        Then, when he’s ahead in the vote count prior to the counting of mail-in votes, he claims he won because the mail-in votes are inherently fraudulent. And he uses the States’ opting to make allowances for the difficulty of in-person voting (extended deadlines, longer early-voting periods, more drop boxes,) as a lever to legally stop the count.

·        He cries that because the mail-in votes are coming predominantly Democratic, it has to be fraud, overlooking the fact that he convinced his party to vote in person and shun mailing ballots. So naturally, the mail-in ballots would skew Democratic, because he ensured it would be that way.

I don’t see how they can look themselves in the mirror after engaging in such obvious ratfuckery. I think they just don’t care, because having power justifies everything. And because they’re in bed with the evangelicals, they claim that whatever they do is blessed by God, just because it was they, “The Chosen Ones,” who have done it. In other words, the "C-Street House Doctrine."

The MAGAs revel in the ratfuckery. You can tell just by the memes they pass around. In fact, they’re eager to do it themselves. I saw this little gem over the weekend.

Right off the bat, I knew it had to be photoshopped, if for no reason but Antifa doesn’t really have a headquarters, spokesperson, or organization. Antifa is anyone who says they are.

Then later, when I looked a little closer, I saw the glaring tell: out of nine words, there were two misspellings. Hah! I saw the Capital/Capitol error right off. Took me a little longer to notice “Responsiblitly.”

I was going to respond to the poster but by the time I found it again, someone else had already made my points for me, plus adding that this wasn’t even CNN’s font, so I decided to let it ride there and just talk about it here.

But here’s the thing I keep coming back to. Someone took the time and effort to photoshop an entirely different headline into that CNN chyron and sent it out into the world to con people. And they knew it was too good to question for people who desperately want to believe it. Whatever it takes to get the blame for the insurrection off them and onto their perceived opponent.

I find that telling. It tells me that these people can’t win an argument on merit so they have to lie and distort and just make shit up. And if you call them on it, you’re just “sucked in by mainstream media.” (It goes back to that “Fact Checking = Censorship” meme I talked about last week.)

So now, when visual misdirection fails, it’s time for a different kind… Good ol’ “Whataboutism.”

This one is supposed to come across as reasonable, but as usual, if you scrape a little bit, most points come off as hollow.

Here’s how this argument falls apart:

·        Who says no one’s looking for many of these people?

·        Who says the people haven’t already been caught?

·        There is a very effective manhunt going on for the Capitol Insurrectionists for some damned good reasons:

o   They’re recorded on tape from security cameras, making their identification a lot easier. And many of those who weren’t immediately ID’d got turned in by family, friends, or exes. (LOL.)

o   There are also the geniuses who put themselves on social media while in the midst of the insurrection, making it a cinch for the feds to go scoop them up.

o   IDs were made easier because so many of these dipshits refused to wear masks.

o   Trying to kill politicians to facilitate changing the results of a lawful election is far more important than mere vandalism. That threatens our very democracy and way of life.

o   They attacked and injured cops, killing one. They did this up close, not by throwing rocks from a distance. They beat cops with flagpoles, for cryin' out loud.

·        There’s not nearly as much useable video of people committing the alleged offenses because much of it was at night and people wore masks. You have to have something to go on for a manhunt, more than "some dude in a hoodie."

·        What federal buildings “burned down?” Yes, there were some Molotov cocktails and fires started but none that destroyed a federal building. Same with the church that “burned down.” One church suffered some minor damage, but hardly “burned down.”  This is just exaggeration to bolster a thin point.

·        If you think there needs to be a manhunt for some schmo who tips over a statue, your sense of priorities needs a massive adjustment. Republicans think all this Portland stuff is bigger than it is because Fox “News” has been running it on a constant loop, like destruction porn.

·        This is an apples to oranges comparison, trying to compare the reaction to a threat to our nation against a series of exaggerated incidents. They’re not the same, therefore the reactions needn’t be. This just another desperate attempt to get fingers pointing in someone else’s direction.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Teachers Have Class

There’s been a bit of upheaval around the house this week. Our Governor is forcing teachers back into the schools, effective 2/22/21. It is not going over well for a number of reasons. My wife, Sweetpea, is a veteran 1st-grade teacher, so this hits home.

Like I alluded to a couple weeks ago, they don’t really have a plan to restart schools safely. All the Powers That Be want is the schools to be open, period. Parents are pushing this as well, as one might expect. Everyone agrees that in-person school is best for kids, for educational and social reasons.

The problem is, in our school district, they haven’t made any plans to make this work effectively. First of all, students are only going back two times a week, so it’s not like parents are just sending their kids off to school again like before. Half the class comes in for two days, while the rest stay home and participate remotely. Then they switch for two more days. This leaves the teachers having to teach both to the class and to the home kids via laptop.

How do you think that’s going to work with first graders? They can barely hear under the best of circumstances, with the teacher speaking right into the mic. How is it going to benefit the in-person kids if teachers have to spend the day with them talking into their laptops? Now, both sets of kids will get a half-assed attempt at teaching.

And don’t say they can just wear a Bluetooth headset. Headsets are out because they won’t work with the face shields they have to wear. And buy, too. The teachers here have to buy their own PPE, cleaning supplies, and do the cleaning.

Sweetpea’s school provided her with one face shield. This is it:

It’s not even clear! Looking through it is like looking through an old shower curtain. It’s ridiculous. But it allows them to claim they handed out some equipment.

Kids are required to eat lunch in their classrooms, which means they’ll have their masks off. The teachers are required to be in there with them. Kids are also required to remain 6 feet apart, so all that “socializing” people have been clamoring for will be limited.

Forcing kids and teachers back into school under such circumstances is not only guaranteeing ineffectual teaching, it’s downright dangerous. The Governor is going around saying that teachers are vaccine-eligible, but there’s no goddamned vaccine to be found!

Sweetpea had an appointment today to get her first shot. But they emailed her yesterday to cancel it, saying the facility at this time was only for second shots. And you should have seen the email… it was atrocious. At first, I was sure it was some kind of hoax because the grammar was so poor and the construction was awkward. It wasn’t until I matched the confirmation email she got Sunday morning with the cancellation later in the day and saw they both came from the same email address, that I believed it was real. They should be ashamed of themselves.

She’s back to square one with trying to get the COVID shot, and it’s like the Wild West out there. No one knows what to do or where to go. There are multiple places to register, but none that do so effectively. There is a gaping need for a single source, whether it’s state-run or federal. There should be one place to register, determine eligibility, track progress, get news on vaccine stock in hand, and notify you when to make an appointment. The slap-dash program that Maryland (and many other states) are rolling out is criminal.

This new plan is dangerous, the educational process will be noticeably less effective, there will be little social upside, so why bother? Because parents want their free child care back. That’s it.

And that’s fine. Just don’t pretend that it’s for the good of the child.

Now that I’m good and pissed off, let’s debunk some shit.

I knew the answer to this one right away, not because I was familiar with this particular speech, but these kinds of Republican memes are almost always out of context, if not just made up. And once I looked it up, I was exactly right. Rep. Waters was talking about “knocking off Trump” in the upcoming election, not killing him.

Republicans know this, but they’d rather stir up the rednecks by using one of their favorite whipping girls, a Black woman US Representative. (Ms. Waters used to be target #1 until AOC drew the fire her way.) They know their cult will believe it instantly and forward it around to all their friends, who will also believe it. They know no one will bother to research the quote.

So when it comes down to it, this is an apple to oranges comparison… equating a call to defeat someone in an election versus calling for the murder of political opponents on top of a real, armed, angry mob storming the Capitol with intentions to do just that.

This meme tells you everything you need to know about the modern Republican:

Do you mean to tell me that you can’t have a political discussion without lying through your teeth? Even if I thought this, I’d be too embarrassed to admit it in public. And this is from the self-proclaimed Family Values Party. I know in MY family, our values were that you shouldn’t lie and if you did there were sanctions.

Republicans have brought lying to an art form and now they want to look for cover. It’s funny how aggressively they misunderstand the concept of free speech. What they really want is freedom from the consequences of saying dumbass things.

But I understand. Their entire party is built on a stack of lies. It’s practically the Republican platform (if, they ever bother to create another one.)

Democrats want to kill babies.

Trump won the election but it was stolen from him.

Voter ID is to prevent voter fraud.

The people coming to the United States at the southern border are mostly criminals.

Democrats want open borders.

There is no white privilege.

Economic breaks at the top trickle down to the bottom.

Being gay is a choice.

The Democrats’ only position is hating Trump.

Every one of those statements is demonstrably false, but it’s still Republican dogma.

I’m sorry, I don’t believe our ancestors fought for the right to spin fantastic lies in the search to acquire and maintain power. If you feel that in order to win people to your side you have to be untruthful, exaggerate, or use words out of context, your side isn’t worth being on because it’s empty inside. Make your case truthfully or shut the fuck up.

I thank my lucky stars every day for the availability of fact-checkers because they do a tremendous service to the country. If we can’t separate fact from fiction we have no chance of living in an effectively run nation.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Horse Trading on COVID Relief

 The news of the week seems to be about the negotiations regarding a prospective COVID relief bill. The Dems have their $1.9 trillion version, to which the Republicans countered with a $600 billion version.

Some of the highlighted differences are that the Republican bill lowers the direct payout from $1400 to $1000 and lowers the level of maximum eligibility from $75k for an individual, $150k for a couple to $50k/$100k, removes the increase of the Federal minimum wage to $15, rolls back the extension of unemployment benefits until June instead of September and resists upping the payout from $300 to $400.

Ten Republican senators came up with this compromise bill and that’s significant in that it will take ten senators to vote with Democrats to get this thing past a filibuster. I’m sure that’s their way of assuring the Administration that they won’t pull the football away from them like they did during the Obama administration.

Some of the changes I can go along with. For example, lowering the maximum income requirement to receive direct checks seems OK to me. Yes, that would eliminate my household from receiving a check. I’m as happy as anyone to receive a chunk of money from the government but I can’t say that we absolutely need it. I think it should be limited to those who literally depend on it. If it will get the thing passed, I’m willing to give up my stake.

Also, while I’d prefer that checks for $1400 go out, how useful are no checks? More is better but none is a non-starter. What Republicans don’t seem to understand is that putting money in the hands of those who desperately need it will end up going right back into the economy. And that’s where they all seem to talk about, the economy. They’d just rather send the money right to all the corporate CFOs and pretend they will lower prices, raise wages or create more jobs. (But they rarely do. Most of it goes toward stock buybacks. Sure pays out for the stockholders though.)

I think Biden needs to hold firm on the minimum wage though. Every single time during my life that an increase in the minimum wage is proposed, conservatives cry that it will lead to skyrocketing prices and massive job losses and then it never does. Again, this is money that goes right back into the economy.

If Republicans hadn’t been so intransigent on raising the minimum wage since 2009, we wouldn’t need to double it now. Incrementally would have been better but they prevented that so now we have to do it in one big chunk. They made their own bed on this one. Every chart you see on the subject shows inflation rising, prices rising, executive pay rising, but minimum wage is flat. This change is long overdue.

They always make comparisons like a full-time minimum wage job would have burger-flippers making the same salary as teachers/EMTs/soldiers/fill in the lofty profession of your choice. All that tells me is these other people are also woefully underpaid. The answer to stagnant wages is not suppressing the pay of another demographic.

Maybe Biden can horse-trade with the 10 GOP senators. A bipartisan bill would be better than it being completely one-sided, but it shouldn’t be the only consideration. Biden should say, “If we can’t work something out together, we’ll pass a bill without you that you’ll hate even more. And we will gain votes by doing it too. So jump in and help us get help Americans or get out of the way.”

And maybe if they can work it out, it could lead to further cooperation on other bills. Wouldn’t that just chap Mitch McConnell’s ass?


The rank and file Republicans remain riled up but are still not capable of making a valid point.

That’s the Republican philosophy right here folks. The 81 million who voted for Joe Biden aren’t really people. We’re sub-humans.

This one is particularly irksome because there is really no cause and effect; just two statements put next to each other, without a causal relationship. Here’s the same argument in other words:

If you get into a car crash, it was probably Russian assassins

This overlooks the fact that you were driving the wrong way down a one-way street. Just like the meme overlooks the fact that an armed mob of right-wing self-proclaimed patriots broke into the Capitol building, beat police officers who tried to hold them back, ransacked the grounds, stole stuff, and attempted to kill legislators.

Don’t you think that m a y b e that had a little more to do with the military protection than a vague assertion that there was a massive effort to rig the election by state governments from both parties, which left no evidence or credible witnesses, no electronic or paper trail, and only affected the presidential race, leaving Senate and House races alone?

Moving on…

First of all, why is the number of executive orders from the first week or two in office matter more than the grand totals? It’s only relevant because they wanted to do the meme now.

The larger issue with this meme is the missing context. No one really complained about the number of executive orders until the Republicans started calling Obama the “Imperial President” because of his use of them, which was, in fact, less than his predecessor. Then Trump came in and issued them like they were pardons for his friends and Democrats objected, apparently thinking Republicans actually disagreed with EOs. Just like with the deficit, Republicans are only against governing by executive order when it’s not their guy issuing them.

Here’s a chart I ran in 2019, showing the number of EOs by president.

You can see that the use of EOs has steadily decreased over time. And then Trump issued 220 of them over four years, for an annual average of 55. Look what that would do the curve. Now, do you see why Democrats objected to Trump's EOs?

So now when Biden comes in with a mandate to overturn the executively ordered malfeasance unleashed by the Trump administration, EOs are a big deal again? Get the fuck out of here with that. This is a fake outrage or at least a hypocritical one.

Our last stop…

Simple. Socialism isn’t what’s deflecting the “caravan” from Venezuela, it’s the power-mad nut job running the country. Venezuela is a dangerous place.

Conservatives love to point to Venezuela when it comes to socialism. They always seem to forget about socialist Canada, Denmark, and the Scandinavian countries, all of whom test higher for their population’s general happiness than the US does.