Shithole President. Shithole Party.

So, this happened, as reported in The Washington Post:

Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to African countries and Haiti. He then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he met Wednesday.

As Josh posted at TPM, highlighting a blunt and unequivocal report on this over at CNN, such a pure distillation of racism is too blatant to be ignored, even by the most circumspect MSM venues.

There is, in a sense, nothing new here: anyone paying attention has known that Trump is and has been for his entire adult life a gaping maw of racism, a bigot who doesn’t just loathe black and brown people, but has a record of seeking to do them harm.

It remains astonishing to hear anyone in 2018 say such filth in their outdoor voice, but no one can say they’re surprised that if anyone in American public life were to go loud and proud on the crudest expressions of race-hatred, it would be the –tragic– occupant of the Oval Office, that tiny-fingered and terrified little scrub, Donald Trump.

But if Trump is merely making it more obvious that he’s a one-man lynch mob in waiting, now with the levers of power at his vicious disposal, there’s another set of accessories, the men and those occasional women they allow into the clubhouse who lead the Republican Party.

They were the ones who accepted the devil’s bargain — trade American democracy to wield power through the presumed-to-be biddable Trump.  And now they face, and routinely fail, the test their notionally smart and stable leader poses for them:  stick with Trump, or defend this norm or that.

As everyone reading this knows, to date, it’s been Trump, and to hell with the notion of democratic governance, any of the expectations of the Founders and their heirs.  From judges to taxes to tolerating personal corruption in the White House, and on to the terrifying surrender of huge swathes of government to incompetent cronies, to the attempted capture of law enforcement as a tool of the president, and more, through the whole wretched catalogue, the GOP has chosen to see nothing, to hear nothing, to say nothing — and thus has associated themselves with each sin, all the blows to traditional forms, and every outright felony the Trump crime family commits.

And now this:  Trump, uttering out loud the hate soundtrack that loops constantly through his lizard brain.  This time, he was so obvious as to make it clear even to the meanest comprehension (not implying anything about CNN).  There’s no hidden meaning, no subtext in his words.  This ain’t eleven dimensional chess or brilliant electoral strategery.  January 11, 2018 ain’t the day that Donald Trump became President.

It’s the one on which he reminded us exactly what kind of president he is, what kind of leader the GOP accepts, welcomes, follows.

And thus the test: every single GOP member of Congress, every cabinet official, every White House staffer who fails to condemn this statement, owns it — along with all the sentiments and intentions behind it. They become the bigots, aiders and abettors of the worst impulses in the public sphere. They are to be named and shamed; small children should grimace to see them and each of us will spit on the sidewalks as they pass.

Or, more practically — every single one facing the voters in 2018 and as long as Trump is present on the American political scene has to be asked where they stand on shithole countries.  Ryan and McConnell and all the rest have to be made to choose: Trump and the worst tendencies in our country, or not.

/rant over.  Only this to add:  my stomach hasn’t unknotted since I read this.  Not to Godwin, or anything, but it’s a truly sad day when the President of the United States utters words that would have fit perfectly in Adolf Hitler’s mouth.

Image: Hieronymous Bosch, The Last Judgementbetw. c. 1482-1516



The Party of Immiseration

The Republican Party is phenomenon that Tony Soprano would have recognized instantly:  a bust-out operation, by individuals (looking at you, Bob Corker), and collectively, as the tool by which the hyper-wealthy secure yet more at the expense of everyone else, including the merely rich.

I think this crowd of jackals understands, but it hasn’t yet fully penetrated even that part of the media that does, more or less, get what’s going on, that the tax heist is merely the most obvious of scams.  Everything the GOP does, every policy choice and hidden little adminstrative manouver is another swing of the pick in the most American of extractive industries — the one that treats most Americans as ore to be mined.

This, on the coming elder crisis, is what brought this notion to the fore for me:

Why did women’s rush into the work force stop? …

Caring for children is, to be sure, a formidable barrier to women’s work. In developed countries where parental leave is guaranteed by law and governments ensure free child care, women work at a much higher rate than in the United States.

Still, the consensus is incomplete. It misses perhaps the most significant impediment to women’s continued engagement in the labor market, one that is getting tougher with each passing year: aging. Focused laserlike on child care, we haven’t noticed that the United States is walking into an elder-care crisis.

What are the consequences of this combination of demography and a gendered burden of care?

About a quarter of women 45 to 64 years old and one in seven of those 35 to 44 are caring for an older relative, according to the American Time Use Survey.

A 2015 survey by the insurer Genworth Financial found that caregivers spend about 20 hours a week providing care — about half what a full-time worker would spend at work. Almost four in five said they had missed work, and about one in 10 lost a job. One in six reported losing around one-third of income because of caring responsibilities.

Sean Fahle of the State University of New York at Buffalo and Kathleen McGarry of the University of California, Los Angeles, tracked women in their early 50s to their early 60s for 20 years. Those who provided care, they found, were 8 percent less likely to work. Those at work cut their hours and had lower wage growth. Over time, Professor McGarry told me, caregivers risked lower incomes and a higher risk of poverty in old age.

And the kicker:

Older Americans may be healthier than ever. Still, as they age, they will inevitably develop disabilities and chronic conditions like dementia. “If you are superwealthy and can afford all sorts of things, this is not an issue,” noted Lawrence F. Katz, a professor of economics at Harvard. “But if you are middle class, this tends to end with your relatives’ losing all of their assets and relying on Medicaid or family care.”

Which is to say: the combination of improvements in what medicine can do, the lack of a basic and humane social insurance system and safety net in the United States, and persistent gender roles means that women face disproportionate costs and constraints on their lives; are more likely to be poor as they age; and face the loss of their parents’ assets and ultimately their own to the extractive industry known as elder care.

This is the nub of Republican governing philosophy.  Those of us who are not oligarchs both pay more in our lifetimes and must leave our children and grandchildren with less cash, and hence chance, to make their own lives better.

It’s a system based on the continued extraction of capital from the bottom and middle to the top. The Republican Party’s stock in trade is immiseration, and it will continue to be as long as it is a wholly owned subsidiary of a small handful of those on top for whom the rest of us resemble nothing so much as West Virginia mountain tops.

Mere election annihilation is too good for them.  I’d take it though, though.

Thomas Cole, The Voyage of Life: Old Age, 1839-40.



He Has Reached Rock Bottom, And Has Started To Dig*

In case you had any question as to just how skeevy — more, how fundamentally grotesque — was and is Roy Moore, here’s his reasoning on why sodomizing a child does not constitute “forcible rape”:

The Alabama Supreme Court had the opportunity to hear the case of one Eric Lemont Higdon, a man accused and convicted of two sodomy charges due to sexual assault against a four-year-old at Mama’s Place Christian Academy in Clay, Alabama.

 

Higdon had been convicted of both sex with a child under twelve years old, statutory rape, and of “first-degree sodomy by forcible compulsion” which requires that the victim face a threat, overt or implied, of  “serious physical injury.” That second forcible rape charge was overturned on appeal, and the question that Moore and his fellow state supreme court justices faced was whether that appellate decision was correct.  Almost all of the court had no problem working that one out:

Eight of the nine justices on the panel found that the appeals court had erred. Their legal logic was such that a 17-year-old’s sexual assault of a four-year-old was enough to produce in the mind of the four-year-old, an “implied threat of serious physical injury.”  The decision was reversed and remanded and Higdon’s conviction was reinstated.

Who dissented? That godly man Moore, of course:

“Because there was no evidence in this case of an implied threat of serious physical injury…or of an implied threat of death, Higdon cannot be convicted of sodomy in the first degree “by forcible compulsion.”

Four Years Old.

No implication of serious physical injury when a seventeen year old assaults a pre-schooler.  I wanted to put that last more bluntly, but I can’t. My stomach turns itself into a Klein bottle when I try.

What kind of man do you have to be to conceive of the scene between that youth and that little child and see no threat?

Roy Moore is not who we thought he was.  He’s much, much worse — and anyone who rises to his defense shares in his stain.

*From this time-honored list of British military fitness reports.  My favorite has always been “I would not breed from this Officer” — which, according to my uncle, a career man in the Royal Artillery, was known to refer to a fellow from a Guards regiment.  Posh don’t mean smart.

Image:  Diego Velasquez, Las Meninas1656-7.

This picture is not, perhaps, precisely on point with this post, but it knows the chords and is, in any case, a simply magnificent painting.



Friday Morning Open Thread: Trump & the Neverending (JFK) Story

“Failed to inform”. The release has been mandated for twenty-five years, this batch of Repub fvckups have been squatting in the Oval Office for eleven months, and Liddle Lord Flapjaw himself has been ruminating about the “So interesting!” files all week. If that was actually intended as a diversion, once again, Trump’s proved that he’s really bad at the job he took on…

Per the Washington Post:

The president allowed the immediate release of 2,800 records by the National Archives, following a last-minute scramble to meet a 25-year legal deadline. After lobbying by national security officials, the remaining documents will be reviewed during a 180-day period.

In a memo released by the White House, Trump said: “I am ordering today that the veil finally be lifted. At the same time, executive departments and agencies have proposed to me that certain information should continue to be redacted because of national security, law enforcement, and foreign affairs concerns. I have no choice — today — but to accept those redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our nation’s security.”

The records were put online at 7:30 p.m. The thousands of field reports, cables and interview summaries from dozens of FBI, CIA and congressional investigators reveal the minutiae of a chase for information that spanned decades and covered continents. Usually typed, stamped “Secret” and often annotated by hand, the files are a paper trail of detective grunt work, leads exhausted, dead-ends encountered, sources checked and rechecked.

Many of the files highlight the desperate search for Lee Harvey Oswald’s possible connections to communists, Cubans, or both in the months before he shot Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963…
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Late-Night Open Thread: Access! Hollywood!

Fahrenthold didn’t hesitate. Within a few moments of watching an outtake of footage from a 2005 segment on “Access Hollywood,” the Washington Post reporter was on the phone, calling Trump’s campaign, “Access Hollywood” and NBC for reaction.

By 4 p.m., his story was causing shock waves…

Fahrenthold, a 16-year veteran of The Post, said he knows who pointed him to the “Access Hollywood” video, but he will not reveal the identity because he promised anonymity to his tipster. But like many readers, he said he was surprised and shocked by what he saw on the tape…

Fahrenthold’s story proved to be the most concurrently viewed article in the history of The Post’s website; more than 100,000 people read it simultaneously at one point on Friday. The interest was so heavy that it briefly crashed the servers of the newspaper’s internal tracking system…

To be honest, I don’t think Trump’s boasts were about sex — they were about establishing his superior power/potency to a younger (better-looking, higher-status) young man. Of course, most sex crimes are less about sexual urges than about establishing the criminal’s “power” over another person, but Trump turns every human interaction into another simple-minded display of primate dominance. I could fuck her, if I wanted to, believe me! Because I’m a powerful hard-driving guy, with lots of money — a STAR!

Meanwhile, at the same paper, Chris “Mad Bitcher” Cillizza:

Mr. Cillizza: Delete your account. Fuck it — delete your career.

[ETA:]


===============

On Monday, according to an NBC source, one of the entertainment newsmagazine’s producers remembered Trump’s 2005 taping session with former “Access” co-host Billy Bush…

By mid-week, executive producer Rob Silverstein and his producing team had taken a look at its contents…

By Friday morning, Silverstein had decided to broadcast it, and a script had been written. The story was not slated to air on Friday night’s edition of the show, however.

That means the earliest it would have aired is Monday night — after Sunday’s presidential debate.

Another NBC source confirmed that “Access” was working on a story, and that NBC News knew about it, but said that as of Friday morning the story “wasn’t quite finalized.” …

Sounds to me like NBC was dragging the process out until they could see who “won” the debate Sunday night. If Clinton does well (as even the haterz are assuming she will), they’d have a little nugget of tribute to indicate their good intentions. If things weren’t so clear-cut, well…

And speaking of political criminals, yes Billy is one of THOSE Bushes…

Bush, 44, is the nephew of George H.W. Bush and cousin of George W. Bush. He got his start in radio before landing a job at the NBC affiliate in New York. He joined NBC’s syndicated entertainment program “Access Hollywood” as a correspondent in 2001 and has been a constant presence on NBC platforms ever since; he was eventually promoted to “Access Hollywood” co-anchor and frequently reported for the “Today” show, from award shows to Olympics coverage…

Bush was presumably added to the “Today” show roster to improve ratings for the 9 a.m. hour. But on Friday, as the Trump video circulated the Internet, comments flooded in, many from women — the “Today” show’s target audience….


Nobody
who hangs around Donald Trump comes off unscathed. Even the Bush crime clan can’t keep the stench off, and their founding father was a Hitler profiteer.



Surviving Hurricanes and Other Unthinkables

This seems like a good time to recommend Amanda Ripley’s excellent book The Unthinkable, which examines why (and how) some people survive catastrophes and others don’t. She examines 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, a hotel fire, a stampede at Mecca, and the Virginia Tech mass shooting, among other incidents. It’s a fascinating book, and also hugely practical.

Katrina seems most relevant now, with Hurricane Matthew bearing down on us. Ripley reports that, although a lot of the press coverage of the victims focused on poverty: “The victims of Katrina were not disproportionately poor; they were disproportionately old. Three-quarters of the dead were over sixty, according to the Knight Ridder analysis. Half were over seventy-five.”

She then launches into a discussion of how bad most of us are at risk assessment. You know: how we dread sharks and terrorist attacks when we really should be dreading car crashes and household accidents. She also talks about the perils of arrogance (“about 90 percent of drivers think they are safer than the average driver”) and overconfidence:

When it comes to old-fashioned risks like weather, we often overestimate ourselves. Of the fifty-two people who died during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, for example, 70 percent drowned. And most of them drowned in their cars, which had become trapped in floodwaters. This is a recurring problems in hurricanes. People are overconfident about driving through water, even though they are bombarded with official warnings not to. (This tendency varies, of course, depending on the individual. One study out of the University of Pittsburgh showed that men are much more likely to try to drive through high water than women—and thus more likely to die in the process.)”

Also:

Hurricanes are especially tricky because we have to respond to them before things get ugly. We have to evacuate when the skis are clear and blue….It’s hard to image the violence to come. Without any tangible cues, denial comes easily.

In general, she reports, elderly people don’t like to evacuate: “In 1989 1979, after the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania, retirees and people over age seventy were least likely to evacuate—regardless of how close they were to the reactor.”

Also, elderly people are at particularly risk for over-valuing past experiences (relative to current conditions) in their decision-making. This appears to be a particular trap in highly complex and variable events like hurricanes. Ripley reports on an elderly Katrina victim who, when his kids urged him to evacuate, quite reasonably pointed out that his house had survived thirty years of hurricanes and so should also survive Katrina. But what he—and pretty much everyone else—hadn’t counted on was that decades of technohubris-fueled, under-regulated development and “starve-the-government” GOP policies had decimated the wetlands and levees that had previously protected the city from big hurricanes. And so, like so many others, he drowned.

Best to all Juicers who are in Matthew’s path. Please evacuate EARLY and check in as best you can throughout the weekend. And here’s a thread for sharing everyone’s hurricane-related experiences and suggestions and good wishes. (After Matthew has piddled out, I’ll post another thread with some of Ripley’s more general survival tips – plus my own experience with an earthquake in Japan.)



Reminder Open Thread: Trump’s Undercard Mike Pence Is Also Deplorable

What with one thing and another, I didn’t get to post this draft last week, but Pence’s latest LAWN ORDURE! news conference reminded me…

The more out-of-control Trump acts, the more the “establishment” Republicans try to pretend he’s some kind of unpredictable phenomenon that came down upon their beleaguered party like a new version of Ebola. Let’s not let them get away with this, because the standard GOPers on offer are no better:


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