4/26/2018

Arizona Teachers Will Kick Your Ass, GOP


That right there is the latest march of thousands of teachers in a Republican-run state. As many figured would happen after West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma, the teachers in Arizona have told the GOP-led legislature and Republican governor that their pay sucks, their schools suck, and it's gotta fuckin' change. Teachers are leaving Arizona in droves to go to surrounding states where they at least attempt to pay teachers like they're the people who educate our fucking children. At the start of this year, of 8600 vacant teaching jobs, 62% were either unfilled or filled by unqualified substitutes.

Like in every other state led by the savage servants of the rich, Arizona Republicans have passed years of tax cuts, mostly for corporations and the wealthy. And, fuckin' yeah, it's the Republicans. They've controlled the Arizona state government in totality since 2009. They've controlled the legislature for years. And these dumb shitkickers really thought that cutting taxes would bring in companies and jobs, and guess the fuck what? Like in every other state that's tried it, it didn't fuckin' work.

Meanwhile, to make up for the hundreds of millions in lost tax revenue, guess the fuck what they cut? Yeah, education (among other things that help, you know, people). The budget for repair and construction on schools? Fuck that. That's been cut $2 billion since 2009 when, as mentioned just up there, the GOP took over the entire government. Schools had to increase class sizes, cut staff and programs, and a total of $4.5 billion has been cut from schools since 2009. Oh, and teacher salaries have been stagnant. So, yeah, they're on a fuckin' strike.

50,000 people showed up in Phoenix today to march on the state capitol in over 90 degree heat. In fact, the march had to be cut short because people were dropping from heat exhaustion. 75% of Arizona's schools are closed today, and that's 820,000 students, a bunch of whom joined their teachers on the march.

Now, the governor is proposing a 20% pay raise over three years, but the legislature is unsure how to fund it. But the teachers don't just want the pay raise. At the rally after the march, teachers talked about schools with no computers, rusted out desks, and class sizes that have ballooned to 50 students. They talked about how teachers have to live with their parents because they don't make enough to afford to live on their own.

And even some Republicans are calling for a hike in some taxes to raise Arizona from being 48th in teacher pay and 43rd in per student spending in the nation. A conservative columnist for the Arizona Republic newspaper has proposed a 1-cent sales tax hike (which is obviously something that disproportionately affects the poor and middle class, but at least it's something) and legislation locks in how education is funded. It does go well beyond the pay raise but still doesn't restore all the funding lost.

Tomorrow, the teachers will continue their rally, but legislators have left for the weekend. They claim to be working on something. We'll see if these Republicans can overcome their asshole tendencies to do something to actually help the teachers and the kids of their state.

This teacher uprising is a full-fledged movement, one driven by women, who make up the vast majority of public school teachers. It is a way to say that economic sexism, which devalues jobs that are traditionally done by women, needs to fucking end.

(Note: Over in Colorado, a smaller but still important teacher strike is occurring, too.)

4/25/2018

Can We Choose to Know Who Runs Our Government Agencies?

Pop quiz, motherfuckers.

1. Who is Lisa Jackson?
a. Michael Jackson's daughter
b. EPA administrator for President Obama
c. Audrey Hepburn's character in Two for the Road

2. Who is Hildy Johnson?
a. Boris Johnson's wife
b. Secretary of Labor for President Obama
c. Rosalind Russell's character in His Girl Friday

3. Who is Shaun Donovan?
a. The full name of folk singer Donovan
b. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for President Obama
c. Jack Lemmon's character in Airport '77

4. Who is Gary Locke?
a. John Locke's lesser-known brother
b. Secretary of Commerce for President Obama
c. Alec Guinness's character in Our Man in Havana

5. Who is Tom Donilon?
a. Secretary of Transportation for President Obama
b. Secretary of Energy for President Obama
c. Director of the Office of Management and Budget for President Obama

The answer for numbers 1, 3, and 4 is b. Number 2 is c because what's life without a twist now and again (Hilda Solis was Labor Secretary, though). And, fuck you, number 5 is a trick because Donilon was Obama's National Security Advisor.

I'm gonna bet you knew maybe one of those. If you knew more than one, then fuckin' awesome for you. You have decided to be extra-aware of who is making decisions that affect your life. But most people everywhere wouldn't know a single one of those 4 real people and 1 fictional character. And isn't that the bliss we want? Don't we just want our government officials to shut the fuck up, stop doing stupid shit, hunker down, and do their fuckin' jobs? It used to be like that. Not that fuckin' long ago.

I might not agree with what Scott Pruitt, Ben Carson, Wilbur Ross, Mick Mulvaney, or any of the querulous worms of Trump administration do as they heap piles of shit on their offices and leave wreckage wherever they go. I may want them to fail miserably and be sent to the hinterlands in disgrace or burn their careers on the pyre of the Trump administration's blustering cruelty. I want to fight their policies. For instance, I want to demonstrate how changes in EPA rules are going to dick the air and water for multiple generations and not talk about a soundproof booth. I want these braying asses, creepy motherfuckers, and skeevy grifters to just fucking get out of the public eye, especially for shit that has nothing to with policy (and they suck when they're doing policy, too).

During the Obama administration, we didn't worry about Gary Locke because he wasn't doing shit like going on TV to talk about the effect of tariffs on the price of aluminum cans like a barely animated corpse. The only reason we ever heard about Lisa Jackson at EPA was when Republicans attack dogs went after her and decided to make having a private email account is the worst thing anyone could do, far worse than, say, hiring a massive security force and spending on paranoid office shit, like fuckin' Scott Pruitt has.

This is not a call for ignorance. It's a call for peace. It's a call for the Republicans to step up (man, I just rolled my eyes so hard, I saw another dimension) and get the executive branch to cut the shit out. You learn shit like Ben Carson buying an extravagant fucking dining room table, then you call for his firing.

And the members of the administration just seemed to be engaged in a "hold my beer" contest in who can be the biggest corrupt asshole. You think Pruitt seems nuts? Check out Ryan Zinke. Think Steve Mnuchin's a greedy piece of garbage? Mulvaney's got him beat. You just know that Trump loves this chaos. He loves that it keeps his name on TV even more. He probably beats off to MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell getting pissed off.

The fabric of a society cannot hold if the claws of scandal keep tearing at it. Eventually, it's gonna give way. The question is whether or not anyone is gonna be able to stitch it back together.

4/24/2018

Confederate Memorial Day Is for Losers

Look, there ought to be no reason to talk about "Confederate Memorial Day" because such a day shouldn't exist. And it fucking well ought not be recognized in any official way by any government of the nation that beat the Confederacy to a gray pulp. Except that the state offices in both Mississippi and Alabama were closed yesterday in "honor" of the dishonorable scumfucks who tried to rip the country in two so they could keep humans enslaved (with some localities closing their offices on other dates). And there were "celebrations" around the South.

For instance, over in Biloxi, on Sunday, an event was held at Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home and "Presidential" Library, which strangely has not been burned to ground and the ashes haven't been turned into a giant toilet that black people can piss in. After listening to the plinking tones and odd singing of the Southern Strings Dulcimer Club, you could have heard a speech by H.K. Edgerton, known as "that black guy who supports the Confederacy" and who charges $20,000 an appearance and who totally isn't scamming the racists. (Fun fact: You can go on a ghost hunt once a month at Beauvoir. That's how you know the whole place is legit.)

In Montgomery, the state capital of Alabama, members of a group of Civil War reenactors will be decked out in Confederate soldier drag as a "tribute" to their ancestors. They'll be doing this on the grounds of the capitol building, so it's not unlike a bunch of people dressed as Nazis celebrating the anniversary of Kristallnacht under the Brandenburg Gate. In many other places, people just decorate the graves of dead racists...sorry, Confederate soldiers...no, wait, fucking traitors. That's better.

As usual, idiots come out to spew idiotic bullshit about how we need to "honor" their fallen ancestors for fighting for something they believed in. Like this piece from the "chaplain" of a Sons of Confederate Veterans group, where he uses a 1969 John Wayne movie to back up his point of view and says, "This is our land, our homes and our way of life. We didn't come up there to tell you how to run things, so don't come telling us." And I just wanna say to the author, Barry Cook, "Motherfucker, that's called 'living in a nation.' You don't get to do shit just because it's your 'way of life,' you fuckin' dumbass." Cook admonishes us, "[T]hese intellectual types don't usually get it. (They still haven't figured out how Trump won)." To which one can only respond what people like this tell us on the left about Trump: "You lost. Get over it. You've had over 150 years. Fuckin' babies."

Again, this shouldn't even be worth discussing. But every year, we see stories about some backwards ass fucks doing backwards ass shit to glorify inglorious assholes. And it's got a different context this year because of the surge of racist movements in this country in the era of Trumpism. In western Georgia, just last week, shit-for-brains neo-Nazis marched for shit-for-brains reasons and held a puny rally. With just 3 dozen attendees, they were dwarfed both by the number of counter-protesters and the number of police.

But then these pathetic pukes went into a field and burned a big ol' swastika. You can see photos of them drunk, hepped up on hate, and yowling like rabid dogs who can't lick their balls hard enough. And it'll make you think, "Whoa, whoa, this is 2018. I thought we got over this." Nope.

This is who we are at this moment, as we get confirmed what everyone who observed the 2016 election and its aftermath knows: that Trump voters weren't motivated by "economic anxiety" or such bullshit. They were white people motivated by fear that they will lose their status as the top of heap.

Or, you know, to shorten that, racism. It is the original sin of American society, and, if we don't do anything to hold it in check and change it, it will be our damnation.

4/20/2018

The Comey Memos: Man, Trump's a Sad Worm

The memos of former FBI director James Comey were leaked to the press literally minutes after they were given to a congressional committee led by craven twat mite Devin Nunes. While there are some interesting things we can tease out of the details, most of the big revelations have been out there for a bit.

Still, what we get is the image of Donald Trump, our goddamn president, that confirms all the worst shit about him: that he's a self-aggrandizing buffoon, a sad worm of a man, a lump of failure, and a fucking moron. Each meeting with Comey was about Trump trying and failing to assert some alpha dog status over a man who he thought was on his side. Trump wants Comey to be grateful to him. He wants Comey to plead for his job. He wants to own Comey. And when Comey doesn't allow himself to be owned, it fuckin' drives Trump nuts.

Trump begs for Comey's approval in a way that's so pathetic that, if Trump were a dog, you'd take him to the vet to have him put down so you wouldn't have to look at how pathetic he's become. Trump talks about Bill O'Reilly interviewing him and that "O'Reilly's question about whether he respected Putin had been a hard one...He said he does respect the leader of a major country and though that was the best answer. He then said, 'You think my answer was good, right?'" Who needs that kind of validation? Someone who is used to having people around him constantly assuring him that his answers are awesome and he's awesome and every word dingleberry that shits out of his mouth is awesome.

At other points, Comey quotes Trump trying to sound tough, telling Comey, "I have been very loyal to you, very loyal, we had that thing, you know?" Comey comments about Trump's low-rent Mamet plea, "I did not reply or ask him what he meant by 'that thing.'" Although, c'mon, it's obvious that Trump thinks Comey pledged loyalty to him probably because Jared or Reince told that Comey did.

And Trump would need someone to remind him because he repeats himself again and again, which ought to be way more disconcerting than anyone is saying. He brings up Andrew McCabe at least 3 times and how he was "rough" on McCabe and his wife during the campaign. Each time, Comey says that McCabe is "a pro." Trump brings up Russia and hookers and the golden showers show a few times, so concerned for how he appeared. Let's put it this way: If you have to say, "Can you imagine me? Hookers?" or that you're "the kind of guy who didn't need to 'go there,'" then you are exactly the kind of guy who goes there and bangs hookers.

In one really weird moment, Trump says that he talks to world leaders on this "beautiful phone," and Comey describes him "touching the gray phone on his desk." It's a fuckin' phone, man. They all pretty much look the same. And in another, he relates how upset he was that Michael Flynn didn't tell him soon enough about a congratulatory phone call from Vladimir Putin after election, freaking out about it.

Nothing is really surprising anymore. It's not like we didn't know that Trump is such a sad, deranged sack of a human that if his dad hadn't been super-rich, he'd be wandering around Jamaica, Queens, in his robe, yelling at women to suck his old dick and grabbing himself constantly.

Except he's president of the United States. Shit and shit again.

4/19/2018

What Did That Dumb Orange Motherfucker Say Now? (Rising Sun Edition)

Whenever President Donald Trump, an anthropomorphic shart in a suit-shaped sack, gives remarks that are even a little off the cuff, it's a gut-turning embarrassment for the nation. Whatever meager failed vaudevillian patter he may muster when he's in front of an adoring crowd of yahoos dissipates into stone-cold ignorance and bluster that sounds less like the leader of the free world and more like the chief enforcer of the He-Man Woman Haters Club.

So it was yesterday down in Florida at Trump's shrine to the worst rich people in the nation, Mar-a-Lago, and his press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Trump says so much unbelievably dumbass stuff in a single appearance that it's kind of breathtaking, like he's a performance artist standing on a stage and flinging dog shit at an audience, wondering when the idiots sitting in the theatre will stop pretending it's meaningful and rush the stage to stop him.

Trump really did say, "It was a true privilege to be welcomed to the magnificent land of Japan or, as I have heard all my life, the land of the rising sun" and then followed that with "It's true," as if he just informed everyone of the secret nickname of Japan for the last 1000 years. And he really did say about American manufacture of military weapons, "And nobody, nobody makes it like the United States. It's the best in the world by far," like a desperate Fuller brush door-to-door salesman trying to convince a poor farmer he needs three.

Of course, he said something to undermine the potential upcoming talks with North Korea: "If we don't think it's going to be successful...we won't have it. We won't have it." And then the word "fruitful" got stuck in his moron head because he repeated it: "If I think that it's a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we're not going to go. If the meeting, when I'm there, is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting." Either he eyeballed a bowl of fruit in the room or it came up on his word-a-day calendar that he generally just yells, "You think you're smarter than me?" at.

And he really did give himself all the credit for the success of the Winter Olympics in South Korea: "President Moon of South Korea was very generous when he said if it weren't for Donald Trump, the Olympics would have been a total failure. It was my involvement and the involvement of our great country that made the Olympics a very successful Olympics." You ever notice there's never any such thing as a "partial failure" with Trump? It's always either the greatest success that ever successed in the history of successing because of him or, because of someone he doesn't like, it's a total failure. Obama's foreign policy, the assault weapons ban, North Korea. You get the idea. But what's even more amazing is that this numbnuts thinks that ticket sales at the Olympics, which he claims he's responsible for, are a good indication that he'll be able to make a deal with Kim Jong-un. It's not unlike saying, "Because I could make a clay ashtray, I can sculpt David."

Asked about the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election (and other tasty matters having to do with Trump's businesses), he streamed catchphrases and sound bites ready for Steve Doocy to cream his Sans-a-belts over in the a.m.: "There was no collusion, and that's been so found as you know by the House Intelligence Committee. There's no collusion. There was no collusion with Russia other than by the Democrats or the obstructionists because they truly are obstructionists." Ya gotta love the last thing there, where he says he calls the Democrats "obstructionists" because they are obstructionists. They're Democrats. You could just call 'em that.

And then, swear to fuckin' Christ, he brought up the Electoral College again. "This was a really hoax created largely by the Democrats as way of softening the blow of a loss which is a loss that frankly they shouldn't have had from the standpoint that it's very easy for them. They have a tremendous advantage in the Electoral College and this is what it is and this is where it came from," he said, like a brain-damaged Popeye snarling, "I yam what I yam what I yam what I yam" on an endless loop. On it went, with Trump repeatedly referring to himself in the third person like some kind of goon: "There's been nobody tougher on Russia than President Donald Trump... Russia will tell you, there has been nobody tougher than Donald Trump."

You know what was great about every other president ever? They occasionally stayed out of the public eye for a while so that they didn't become utterly fucking tedious in their repetitive bullshit. This fuckin' shtick is getting so old. How can anyone find this endearing or interesting except in how fuckin' weird it all is? I could honestly say that people who supported George W. Bush were fuckers, but I understood why they did it. I don't fuckin' get this at all. I don't fuckin' get how "makin' the libtards mad" is enough for some people. It's like when some guy tells you he just loves getting hand jobs and only hand jobs from other guys. You just wanna say, "You know, there's a whole lot more to fucking than gettin' one rubbed out by strange hands."

4/17/2018

When It Comes to Hillary Clinton, Oh, Just Fuck Right Off, James Comey

If I've said it before, I've said it a million got-damn times. If you didn't support Hillary Clinton because you believed in any of the made-up "scandals" from her career, from Vince Foster's "murder" to Emails of Doom to pizza pedophilia, you were the bitch of Fox "news" and the entire conservative machine that had created a narrative about Clinton that you bought into. I am not Breitbart's bitch, so I could put that aside and just consider her based on her positions and policies. (I'm not talking to anyone who didn't vote for Clinton because you disagreed with her or because you couldn't get over whatever the fuck you think happened with Bernie, which is its own kind of conspiracy theory, and, no, I don't give a shit about whatever you wanna say about that. It's very nice you believe that.)

And whatever you wanna say about why Hillary Clinton lost - bad candidate, didn't campaign in this or that state, grrr-Wall Street, grrr-war - one thing that cannot be denied is that much of the nation (although, you know, not a majority) did become the bitches of that conservative machine that runs a thrusting piston pounding the asses of the electorate with a dildo marked "Hillary=evil" or "Hillary=corrupt" and "any association with Hillary means you are evil and corrupt, too." Republicans counted on enough people gladly bending over to receive this fucking .

What we've learned now is that the former director of the FBI, James Comey, was also grabbing his ankles. In an interview with NPR's Morning Edition today, part of his "James Comey is gonna make a fuck-ton of cash" tour, Comey was questioned about why he made a statement about the conclusions of the FBI's investigation into Clinton's email server in July 2016. He admits, as he implies in his book, Higher Royalties...I mean, Loyalty, that, at least in part, he was influenced by the noise of cable news over things like Bill Clinton's visit to then Attorney General Loretta Lynch's plane on the tarmac in June 2016.

Comey says to the idea of resisting that noise, "[A] reasonable person might have done that. I think that would have been a mistake, because again it wasn't just what had happened that last week of June, it was a collection of things that led me to conclude that the general public would have serious doubts about the integrity of the Obama administration's decision to close an investigation of Hillary Clinton without transparency, given those things that had happened." And he goes on to say that he thinks that had he not spoken in July or released the letter to Congress about the "new" emails (which turned out to be nothing) discovered on Huma Abedin's computer, "I think the institutions would have been in worse shape had we done the normal thing" and not commented.

Comey told ABC's George Stephanopoulos's hair that he assumed, like everyone pretty much did, that Clinton was going to win and that, in some way, he was doing the right thing in releasing that letter because "If you conceal the fact that you have restarted the Hillary Clinton email investigation, not in some silly way but in a very, very important way that may lead to a different conclusion, what will happen to the institutions of justice when that comes out? Especially, given the world we're operating in, when Hillary Clinton's elected president? She'll be an illegitimate president, but these organizations will never recover from that."

Let's put aside the hypocrisy of Comey saying he needed to release something about these new emails, even though nothing at all had been found in them of any interest, while saying that he didn't say anything about the Trump investigation because it hadn't found anything definite yet. Let's put aside for a moment the idea of balance, that if he was gonna say a fuckin' word about any investigations of Clinton, he had an obligation to balance that with information about Trump so the American people had the full picture. Put that aside.

Instead, let's tell James Comey to just fuck right off on this. Because he might be this great and mighty public servant and FBI director, but Comey doesn't know jackshit about the very machine that's behind him, fucking him in the ass. If Clinton had won, it wouldn't have mattered if Jesus himself walked into Congress and said, "She didn't do shit." Republicans would have gone nuclear because that's the only way to justify all the Clinton hatred they based their entire election strategy on. Fox "news" would have been 24/7 on emails and every other stupid thing they could fan into a bullshit controversy. Shit, it's practically that now and Clinton ain't even president. It's all they know.

Comey thinks his gestures prevented an erosion of faith in institutions and in a potential President Clinton? You goddamned fool, these motherfuckers had over a half-dozen investigations of Benghazi because when one said, "Nope, it's all good. Sad, but good," they immediately had another going. And as for institutions, Republicans don't give a sad turtle shit about institutions. Do you think the assholes who had just prevented President Obama from making a Supreme Court choice out of pure spite and political fuckery would think twice about wrecking any agency that got in their way?

You big, dumb dickhead, the only thing that was standing between your precious institutions and their dismantling or complete politicization was the fact that a Democrat was president. Clinton would have prevented most of the shit that's happening now to the Justice Department. But you fucked it, Jim Comey.

You fucked it, and your specious fucking book tour won't unfuck it. At least own that shit. Stop saying you wouldn't have done anything differently. That just makes you another idiot who won't learn from the past.

But, then again, we should always remember: You are a Republican.

(Note: Goddamnit, I want to stop talking about the 2016 election. But we keep getting dragged back into it, like it's a cave we climb out of and then the trolls drag us back in, kicking and screaming.)

4/15/2018

AGD Podcast: Interview With Benari Poulten, Former Producer on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore

Up now on the iTunes is a new episode of Another Goddamn Podcast, perfectly timed for a military strike on Syria. I talk some shit about soldiers in my family and then interview a real-life Army reservist who happens to be a funny, funny writer and comic, Benari Poulten.

Benari was a senior producer on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore and has been in the reserves for the last 18 years. He's seen it all, from Gitmo to Iraq to Afghanistan, and we talk about it. Check it out. Subscribe, rate, review. (Looks like this is gonna be a monthly thing for now, but I'd like to get it to every 2 weeks.)

And thanks to everyone who is subscribed over at Patreon at $5 and up. You got this early, and you got an extra five minutes of the interview where Benari talked about his family's Democratic activism and the time his grandmother flirted with Ted Kennedy. Your donations have made this podcast possible.

Thanks also to Ted Kane for the opening music and the Errol Flynns for the closing tune.