Here’s One Monument Tr-mp Didn’t Mind Dishonoring

A few days ago, Tr-mp, morally confused, equated Nazis with those fighting Nazis. He equated racist haters with those fighting racism and hate. He conflated imperfect nation-building revolutionaries in 1776 with slavery-defending traitors in 1861. But that wasn’t enough. Today he tweeted:

Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments.

He was, of course, referring to the treacherous heroes of haters, people like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. And Tr-mp finished with this:

…the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!

It’s not odd that Tr-mp sides with the haters. And it’s not odd that he does so rather robustly and openly. What is odd is that he expresses such profound regard for “our beautiful statues and monuments,” considering he launched his political career by dumping his orange doo-doo—birtherism—on one of the most important monuments to the greatness of America: President Barack Obama.

Ten Augusts ago, during the crowded Democratic primary season of 2007, not many people thought a black man with a strange name would win the nomination of the Democratic Party—once the home of segregationists and other racists—not to mention win the presidency of a nation whose economic power was initially built on the backs of slaves. But win he did. And his win was truly monumental. And Donald Tr-mp, like a diarrhea-plagued pigeon, pooped all over our first African-American president, the living monument to the most prominent promise of America, the radical idea that some of us are still trying to perfect: that no matter who you are or where you came from, you are free to craft your own future.

Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention in 2008 featured these words:

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story—of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart – that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That’s why I stand here tonight. Because for two hundred and thirty-two years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women – students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors — found the courage to keep it alive.

From Tr-mp’s embrace of racist birtherism to his labeling the free press his “enemy” and “the enemy of the people” to his advocacy of political and police violence to this week’s purposeful equivocation regarding the moral status of white supremacists and Nazis, he has been crapping on many of America’s greatest monuments, while defending its bad ones.

And he has never apologized—and never will—for desecrating that national monument named Barack Hussein Obama.

“Just Because They Claim They’re Christians”

Perhaps you’ve seen him on CNN. Or maybe on NBC’s Meet the Press. Or maybe at a rare Tr-mp press conference, when he was doing his job of Chief Political Correspondent for wacky televangelist Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, the Tr-mp-friendly place where slanted and misleading and fake conservative “news” was first invented.

Image result for david brody and cbn newsWell, today I saw him, David Brody, on MSNBC, defending Donald Tr-mp’s obvious reluctance to call out his friends on the right who happen to be Nazis, white supremacists, and some who express sympathy for the terrorist who killed Heather Heyer with his car on Saturday in Charlottesville. Brody’s appearance today was shameful in many ways, considering Brody proudly calls himself an evangelical Christian and may be the most well-known “journalist” who does. But it was not surprising for me to hear him defending Tr-mp.

Way back in 2016, Brody wrote a piece for USA Today (“Donald Tr-mp’s appeal to evangelicals is real: David Brody”) that essentially predicted how well Tr-mp would do with conservative evangelicals. He wrote:

Explaining this attraction is not as hard as it seems. On the surface, you see the potential warts: three marriagesa pro-choice past, salty language delivered by a New Yorker, and the list goes on. To be sure, Tr-mp would not be Central Casting’s prototype evangelical candidate. Name-calling along with the hefty ego aren’t sought after character traits.

But something is resonating. You see, Tr-mp operates in a world of absolutes where there are winners and losers; there is the right way and the wrong way. In short, it’s a world painted in black and white. Evangelicals see the world in much the same way, in that accepting Jesus is the only way to heaven and the Bible is the inerrant word of God. They are publicly ridiculed for their unbending, non-negotiable approach, just as Tr-mp is widely mocked for his adamant positions. It’s called a common psychological bond.

Now, it is hard for some of us to understand how anyone, much less people who profess to follow a craftsman from Palestine who went around telling people to turn the other cheek, can have a “psychological bond” to a sick bully like Tr-mp, but Brody turned out to be right. Without right-wing evangelical support, Tr-mp would be guest-hosting for Sean Hannity right now and still whining about a “rigged” election.

But Brody wrote something else I find interesting:

The Tr-mp brand also includes a lack of political correctness. Combine that with his tough talk on fighting terrorism, temporarily banning Muslims coming into the USA and taking the fight to the Islamic State terrorist group (seize the oil!), and what you get is an attentive congregation. Why? Because the persecution of Christians overseas and fighting radical Islam are top-tier issues for evangelicals. The fact that terrorism is the top concern of Americans this election cycle only helps Tr-mp’s cause. After all, ISIL is brash and in-your-face, and Tr-mp is just as brash.

Well, well, well. What have we here? Forget the fact that Tr-mp’s in-your-face brashness was on vacation this weekend, when he could have used it to confront racist- and hate-fueled violence that was essentially done in his name, done, in many cases, in the name of the white Christian nationalism that Tr-mp and Steve Bannon promoted and rode into the White’s House. Forget that. Notice the phrase “fighting radical Islam”? You notice how Brody tells us that conservative evangelicals fell in love with Tr-mp partly because he was for “temporarily banning Muslims coming into the USA”?

What Brody was doing, and what he correctly noted was important on the Religious Right, was branding all of Islam by the actions of a few. In fact, Tr-mp figured out early on that this is what made him so popular with what he often calls “the evangelicals.” He constantly harped on President Obama’s refusal to say “radical Islamic terrorism,” Obama not wanting to brand the sociopathy behind ISIS and other violent groups as a true expression of Islam. But Tr-mp said the phrase so often and so loudly that it was clear he had no qualms—Tr-mp is pathologically qualm-proof—about painting an entire religion with an extremist brush. Remember, Brody told us part of his appeal was his black-and-white brashness.

Well, the shoe is now on the other hypocritical hoof.

Today on MSNBC, I heard Brody say the following, while he was defending Tr-mp’s indefensible behavior:

Evangelical Christian leaders all have a responsibility to denounce all of this by name, KKK, neo-Nazis.  They have nothing, nothing—AND LET ME SAY THAT IN ALL CAPS—nothing to do with true biblical Christianity at all. Because, remember, just because they claim they’re Christians doesn’t mean it’s so.

Remember, y’all. Remember. Whenever you hear Mr. Two Corinthians broad-brushing Islam with the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism”—when you hear about yet another one of his shady business deals or how he cheated or groped someone—when you hear about another Tr-mp connection to Russian oligarchs—when you hear him avoid criticizing Vladimir Putin and David Duke—that just because someone claims to be a Christian doesn’t mean it is so.

But given what Mr. Two Corinthians and the Religious Right have done to Christianity, in Tr-mp’s case maybe it does.

The Basest of the Base

There will, of course, be other Nazi-nationalist rallies peopled mostly by men, angry and white. Maybe there will be more Heather Heyers, victims of home-grown and home-nourished terrorism, victims of a redundancy: hate and Tr-mpism. Maybe more cops will die trying to manage the hostility created by gun- and shield-wielding white supremacists, terrorists who by their very behavior betray the stupidity of their centuries-old claim. Maybe Tr-mp will again try to play a sick game of avoiding placing the blame where it belongs, on the basest of his debased base—the deplorables.

Image result for violence in charlottesvilleWe can be sure there will be more turmoil because the fight in this case, as in all the others like it, is over the perceived loss of white identity, which is really the expected and inevitable loss of white cultural privilege. The perception of those losses will only intensify over time among those who fear a browning horizon, who fear a population wishing to move past the sins of our forefathers by removing monuments to stubborn ignorance, monuments to the sin of our slavery-condoning past—monuments to treason.

This latest terrorist attack was connected to a plan to relocate a statue of Robert E. Lee that stands in a park in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia. Back in May of this year, a vocal Tr-mp supporter named Richard Spencer appeared at a more peaceful protest of the removal and relocation and stated the case of the hopelessly hateful:

We will not be replaced from this world. Whites have a future. We have a future of power, of beauty, of expression.

It should be noted that Robert E. Lee had no real connection to the city of Charlottesville. The statue was donated to the city in 1924, at a time when white people desperately wanted to send a message to African-Americans that they were, and would remain, second-class “citizens.” This period was the high-water mark for the Ku Klux Klan. As History.com notes,

At its peak in the 1920s, Klan membership exceeded 4 million people nationwide.

Thus, there is a nexus in some white minds between monuments to Lee and white supremacy, even if many of those white minds try to hide behind the excuse that “it’s our history,” and that “revisionists” want to alter the historical record. I know this because more than six years ago I wrote a piece titled, “Robert E. Lee And The Romance Of Rebellion.” In that short piece, which featured a lively discussion in the comment section, I wrote:

I have always wondered why it is that so many people considered Robert E. Lee a hero, this disloyal Union officer who betrayed his country, who owned slaves and led men into battle to preserve the right of white men to buy and sell black families like cattle.

I ended that post with this:

I don’t think you will find many statues of Erwin Rommel in Germany, or visit any Erwin Rommel High Schools, but in the American South, there are plenty of monuments to Robert E. Lee.

One has to wonder why that is.

Now, one has to wonder why the relocation of a statue of Robert E. Lee, a traitor to his country, is worth taking the life of a 32-year-old girl, who was in Charlottesville to protest a racist “Unite the Right” rally, and who, her mother said, “always had a very strong sense of right and wrong” and “was very caught up in what she believed to be fair.”

And one has to wonder why a man pretending to be the President of the United States, cannot condemn—by name—the movement that killed Heather Heyer, or the movement whose racist rally led to the death of two state troopers. His first instinct was to muddy the moral waters with a false equivalence between the Nazis and those who opposed them. (By tomorrow, he likely will have a more sober and civilized response, having been shamed into it by nearly every ethically sane man and woman in America.)

In truth, one doesn’t have to wonder about Tr-mp’s strange non-condemnation of white supremacy. In December of 2015, Politico published an article (“White supremacist groups see Trump bump“) that began this way:

The Ku Klux Klan is using Donald Tr-mp as a talking point in its outreach efforts. Stormfront, the most prominent American white supremacist website, is upgrading its servers in part to cope with a Tr-mp traffic spike. And former Louisiana Rep. David Duke reports that the businessman has given more Americans cover to speak out loud about white nationalism than at any time since his own political campaigns in the 1990s.

Not quite a year later, many white supremacists celebrated Tr-mp’s hiring Steve Bannon to be his White House Chief Strategist. Bannon is, at the very least, a white nationalist, as the University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato pointed out today on CNN, saying Tr-mp should “fire all the white nationalists on his staff, starting with Steve Bannon.”

Yesterday afternoon, after Tr-mp spoke about the tragic events in Charlottesville, a terrorism-supporting freak from the racist, anti-Semitic alt-right wrote:

Tr-mp comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us.

He said that we need to study why people are so angry, and implied that there was hate… on both sides!

So he implied the antifa are haters.

There was virtually no counter-signaling of us at all.

He said he loves us all.

Also refused to answer a question about White Nationalists supporting him.

No condemnation at all.

When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room.

Really, really good.

God bless him.

God? God bless him? Is this Radical Christian Terrorism? You be the judge. But before you judge, consider what that same right-wing Nazi freak wrote recently:

…whatever you think of Christianity, it was the glue that bound white people together as a single race.

And whatever you think of Christianity, the best society you can live in is a White Christian society.

That sociopath who praised Tr-mp for refusing to specifically condemn people like him is named Andrew Anglin. And he just published a piece about the victim of the terrorists in Charlottesville titled (I won’t link to it),

Heather Heyer: Woman Killed in Road Rage Incident was a Fat, Childless 32-Year-Old Slut

He said:

Despite feigned outrage by the media, most people are glad she is dead, as she is the definition of uselessness. A 32-year-old woman without children is a burden on society and has no value.

These are the people Tr-mp protects with his sickening silence. And if we are supposed to call those militant zealots who are very loosely connected to mainstream Muslim faith “radical Islamic terrorists”—and Tr-mp insists very loudly they are—then Andrew Anglin qualifies as a radical Christian terrorist, even if he doesn’t consider himself “especially religious.”

Whatever he is, we know he is a Tr-mp supporter. And Tr-mp knows it, too.

Two Kinds Of Madmen

The precipitous and dangerous drama still unfolding between the United States and North Korea, essentially between Dim and Kim, was entirely predictable, for those of us who know how mentally unstable and sadly insecure Tr-mp is. And now that we are fairly confident that the North Koreans are farther along the path to being a nuclear power with ICBMs than most experts had previously estimated (funny how intelligence reports are not questioned by Tr-mp these days), the situation comes down to the decisions of two alleged madmen and whether one or the other or both will be restrained by reason.

For the purpose of this post, I want to define two kinds of madness that I believe is infecting the minds of the men who fate, or a nasty God, has put in charge of weapons of mass destruction. First there is Tr-mp. No need to go on at length about what ails him. His mental challenges have been discussed endlessly here and everywhere (see this 9-minute segment, “Real Doctors Diagnose Tr-mp”). One prominent psychologist, John Gartner, has pronounced him a “paranoid psychopathic narcissist,” for instance. But even if you are inclined to think that such a professional diagnosis is too wild in this case, you have to admit that you really don’t need a PhD to see that Tr-mp’s day-to-day behavior reveals some kind of severely disordered mind. That’s clear to even many of his followers, who seem to like that aspect of his personality, even if they call it something like “unpredictability.”

Then there is Kim Jong-un. If you have followed the news the last several days, you have seen or heard many people try to assess the mental state of Kim. Is he sane? Is he a madman? Is he a rational actor? The fact that no one seems to know for sure is what makes this drama so dumb and dangerous. Tr-mp himself told Philippine President Duterte that Kim “could be crazy.” If so, why tempt him to act on his craziness? Why talk like a middle-school bully and put the lives of millions at risk? What if Ivanka or Tr-mp’s two creepy older sons were living in Seoul? Would he tempt Kim with stupid bluster?

Back in April, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked chief of staff John Kelly (he was Secretary of Homeland Security at the time), “Do you think Kim Jong-un is mentally unbalanced?” Kelly said:

Oh, heck, I don’t know. He seems like someone who knows what he’s doing. I mean, clearly, the number one thing in his mind is to remain in power. I think in the dynamic of a dictatorship like that, he’s got to do that by convincing everyone around him—first of all holding them all in stark terror—and convincing everyone around him that he’s a strong man and is willing to stand up, and all the rest of the rhetoric. I think the only way to decide whether he’s insane or not is to lay him down on the couch and have a battalion’s worth of psychiatrists talk to him and figure it out.

So, Kelly says Kim “knows what he’s doing” but isn’t sure if he’s sane or insane. Okay, then. That clears that up.

Our relatively weak Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has his opinion, which, also in April, he offered to Fox “News”:

All indications…by intelligence agencies, and there have been a number of independent psychologists who have done analysis as best they can, all indications are that he is not crazy. He may be ruthless. He may be a murderer. He may be someone who in many respects we would say by our standards is irrational. But he is not insane.

That observation made me think of something G. K. Chesterton wrote in his book, Orthodoxy:

Every one who has had the misfortune to talk with people in the heart or on the edge of mental disorder, knows that their most sinister quality is a horrible clarity of detail; a connecting of one thing with another in a map more elaborate than a maze. If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment. He is not hampered by a sense of humour or by charity, or by the dumb certainties of experience. He is the more logical for losing certain sane affections. Indeed, the common phrase for insanity is in this respect a misleading one. The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.

That’s Kim Jung-un. Clearly, if you examine his behavioral history, you see a madman who has demonstrated no “sane affections.” He seems to only use reason in service to his maniacal pursuit of perpetual power and existence as an unchallengable cult figure to “his” people. Because there does seem to be potential for a transactional understanding with such a madman, there is some hope that diplomacy can somehow de-escalate the present situation until a more solid diplomatic effort (including help from the Chinese and other world players) can find a possible solution to the long-term problem of a nuclear North Korea with world-threatening ICBMs.

Image result for kim jong un and trump face swapThe problem is that Tr-mp, displaying the kind of madness not conducive to the patience of diplomacy, can’t keep his undisciplined mouth out of this situation. I reject the idea, advanced by some silly pundits, that there is a method to Tr-mp’s magniloquent madness, that he and his advisers have a “strategy” behind all the sophomoric bluster. No. To Tr-mp this is a reality TV test of wills—a game of chicken. Except it’s not Tr-mp sitting in the car, but millions of Koreans, North and South, who will pay the bloody price if Kim overreacts and takes the dare or if Tr-mp orders a foolish pre-emptive strike after a minor act of provocation. And that fact, that innocents will die unnecessarily, is what should be the focus of all the news coverage of this crisis.

What we have here is a sick man, acting foolishly as our commander-in-chief, playing a dangerous game with a North Korean madman devoid of natural human emotions. And if this ends without bloodshed this time, this drama will unfortunately have a sequel—unless we can rid ourselves of the madman on our side and then begin to exhaust all diplomatic and non-military solutions before we think the unthinkable.

The Dopey Leading The Dope

For years now, I have accused Fox & Friends, the morning show Tr-mp loves, of being an IQ-murdering, brain-baking embarrassment to American life. Yesterday, Vox pubished a piece (“We analyzed 17 months of Fox & Friends transcripts. It’s far weirder than state-run media.“) with the sub-header: “How the Fox morning show evolved into Donald Tr-mp’s posse.” Yes, the unprosecuted p-ssy prodder has a posse:

What we found is that Fox & Friends has a symbiotic relationship with Trump that is far weirder and more interesting than state media. Instead of talking for Trump, they are talking to him.

Naturally, the juvenility that defines Fox & Friends appeals to the lazy, uninformed teenager in the White’s House. And the hosts take advantage of his interest in the anti-intelligence programming they offer—and his pathologically abbreviated attention span—in order to give him advice. And, sadly for the country, the man who has to essentially have coloring book intelligence briefings frequently listens.

If you’ve ever spent 30 minutes with Fox & Friends (may a couple of your IQ points Rest in Peace, by the way), then the idea that these simpletons are giving advice to Agent Orange and that Agent Orange heeds some of it, should make you very restless at night. Every night. Because the next morning—seven days a week—brings another episode of Fox & Friends.

The good news is that when Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, and Ainsley Earhardt get on the air and publicly tell Tr-mp how to handle North Korea, at least we’ll have a few minutes lag time to get in our bomb shelters. Or if, like me, you don’t have one of those, to pick up a 30-pack or your medication of choice.

Most Everything You Need To Know About Why Black Folks Are Afraid Of Greitenstan—I Mean, Missouri

By now, most folks in Missouri (and most outside) have heard of the NAACP’s travel advisory involving my state. Most people, however, probably haven’t read the actual text of the travel advisory, the first ever issued by the group at the state level. So, because this is the Internet, here is part of it (first issued by the Missouri NAACP State Conference), which I have slightly edited:

A travel advisory has been issued in the State of Missouri due to the
sad passage of Senator Gary Romine’s Jim Crow Bill – SB 43 – and
recent events throughout Missouri.

The advisory means each individual should pay special attention
while in the state of Missouri and certainly if contemplating spending
time in Missouri. Unlike seasonal weather advisories, where no
unnecessary travel on city streets or parking might be directed, the
NAACP wants to make Missourians and our visitors aware of looming
danger which could include the following by example of what has
happened to some residents and visitors:

Tory Sanford who recently died in a jail cell but was never arrested
after running out of gas when he traveled into the state accidentally;

Racist attacks on University of Missouri students while on the states’
campuses – as the University of Missouri System spoke in favor of
Romine’s Jim Crow Bill;

Missouri’s legislature Representative Rick Bratton argued that
homosexuals are not human beings according to his faith;

Black high school students in St. Louis have been attacked with hot
glue while denigrated racially;

Two internationally born men gunned down outside in Kansas City
after their killer thought them to be Muslim;

According to the Missouri Attorney General African-Americans in
Missouri are subjected to excessive traffic – 75% more likely to be
stopped and searched based on skin color than Caucasians,
Public threats of shooting ‘Blacks’ that terrorized University of
Missouri students and members of the public.

Individuals traveling in the state are advised to travel with extreme
CAUTION. Race, gender and color based crimes have a long history
in Missouri. Missouri, home of Lloyd Gaines, Dred Scott and the
dubious distinction of the Missouri Compromise and one of the last
states to lose its slaveholding past, may not be safe…

The Missouri State Conference NAACP asked that you do the
following:

warn your families, co-workers and anyone visiting Missouri to
beware of the safety concerns with travel in Missouri,

notify members of your trade associations, social and civic
organizations that they are traveling and living in Missouri at their own
risk and subject to unnecessary search seizure and potential arrest,
and file and seek help on any existing claims for discrimination,
harassment, retaliation, and whistle blowing ASAP…

Now, you can investigate all of the incidents listed in this advisory and decide for yourself if the advisory is warranted. But I will focus on SB 43 itself—which is now law in the state after our Tr-mpian governor signed it in June—and show why it is that this law is not just a Jim Crow-type law for African-Americans, but why it represents a danger to all those who have been at least partially protected by Missouri’s anti-discrimination laws.

But the first thing you need to know about this ridiculous law—which amends the Missouri Human Rights Act—is that its sponsor, Republican Senator Gary Romine (whose district comprises counties south of St. Louis) is the owner of a business in Sikeston called Show-Me Rent to Own. That business is one of those “Don’t Need a Loan, No Credit Required” furniture and appliance stores where you can rent a couch or a coffee table or a TV or a potted plant for a week or a year or whatever. In my experience, places like that tend to prey on those with poor credit, which usually means, of course, the poor. So, let that speak or not speak to the character of Sen. Romine.

In any case, allow me to quote extensively (you should read it all) from an April story involving Romine that was written by Sarah Fenske of the Riverfront Times:

In March 2015, a man who used to work at Show-Me Rent to Own in Sikeston, Missouri, filed a lawsuit alleging that his supervisor regularly used racial slurs against him, telling him, among other things, to “quit acting like a n*gger” — and Related imagethat a map on the wall of the store circled a majority black neighborhood with the words “do not rent” written next to it.

The owner of the business is state Senator Gary Romine (R-Farmington), and in response to the suit, his lawyers acknowledged that, yes, a map in the back of the store had those very words written upon it. Everything else, he pretty much denied.

In any other state, that kind of admission might be a scandal — or at least grounds for future questioning. “Hey, Senator Romine! Who was redlined by that ‘do not rent to’ directive? And did any employees tell you about the allegations against your supervisor? If so, did you take any action?”

But hey, this is Missouri. And instead of Romine’s business practices forcing him into the hot seat, he’s instead using them as the basis of a folksy anecdote about “frivolous litigation” to advance legislation that would gut workplace protection against racial discrimination in Missouri…

Sarah Fenske goes on to describe what now is the law. She calls it,

a toxic stew: a mess of bad provisions that manages to exempt state employees from whistleblower protections, gut workers’ ability to allege racial discrimination, and protect Romine’s own interests, all in one package.

She then quotes Representative Steve Roberts, a Democrat from St. Louis:

“I honestly don’t understand how this hasn’t gotten more media attention.” He notes that when he questioned Romine about being sued for discrimination, the senator had a telling answer: “Which time?”

“It’s so bold to have a senator who’s been sued for this, multiple times, leading the charge,” Roberts says. “It is clearly self-dealing.”

Clearly. But even if it wasn’t, the law is horrific. I’ll allow Fenske to describe why because I think she does it so well:

SB 43 would gut the state’s Human Rights Acts (which is already fairly limited — among other things, sexual orientation is not covered). But under these new provisions, instead of showing only that race or gender are “a contributing factor” to discrimination, Missouri residents would have to show that it was “the motivating factor” (emphasis added).

So let’s say someone works for … just to come up with a totally random example … Gary Romine’s rent to own business. And let’s say they were subjected to the barrage of invective described in the lawsuit against Show-Me Rent to Own, which includes phrases like “black people are the worst to work with,” “black people are the worst to rent to,” “as long as I am manager, there will never be two black people working here again,” and, of course, the n-word. (Romine, for the record, didn’t respond to either a phone message or email seeking comment yesterday.)

Then let’s say the employee was fired. Under the new law, it wouldn’t be enough to show that race was one of the reasons he faced termination. His lawyers would have to show it’s the single biggest reason — an incredibly difficult standard.

I have to stop here and tell you that as someone who has occasionally represented employees who filed complaints of workplace discrimination, Fenske is absolutely correct to emphasize how difficult it is under ordinary discrimination laws to win a judgment against an employer. And she is also correct in emphasizing how harder it will be under SB 43 to win such a case. It will essentially require a business owner to stand up and say, “Yep, I fired the black guy because I don’t like n*****s.” It’s really that bad. Thus, that’s part of the reason the NAACP referred to it as a Jim Crow law.

But the law is bad for an even more onerous reason, one so bad it caused my own local state representative, a reactionary named Bill White, to reject it. Here’s how The Missouri Times reported that part of it:

The bill also removes provisions that would prevent the actual discriminating party – be it a supervisor or fellow employee – from being named in the case, which horrified Rep. Bill White, R-Joplin.

“What this bill does in its current form, the person who hung the noose in somebody’s locker, that person doesn’t get named in this case in this bill,” White said, citing a specific discrimination case in which a white employee racially discriminated against a black employee.

Kudos to Bill White for having at least some limitations on his shortsighted, radical conservatism. (And I think I’m being way too generous to say he has some limitations; maybe this is the only one).

If all that wasn’t bad enough, the law also limits damages in cases where a complainant actually wins. So, even if you get the owner to admit he fired you because you’re black and he hates blacks, his liability is capped. And that’s not all. This law doesn’t just make it harder for African-Americans to sue for discrimination, it also makes it harder for those pursuing age or sex or religious discrimination. If you’re an old fart no longer wanted because you’re old, a woman no longer wanted because you’re a woman, or, say, a Muslim working in a “Christian” environment, well, too bad for you. Businesses need protection from the likes of you and your ambulance-chasing, litigation-loving lawyers!

Which, of course, is how this damned thing, which was rammed through the legislative process in the most unseemly manner imaginable, was justified. It’s good for business. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce has been demanding this law for years. And here’s how The Missouri Times reported that angle:

“It was a priority for us and it’s been a priority for us for over a decade,” House sponsor Rep. Joe Don McGaugh said after session. “When you talk to the business community, the examples that they share are pretty broad with the number of people who come in and say, this was a real factor for businesses coming into the state. So, hopefully, it has a pretty quick impact.”

Rep. Kevin Engler, who has carried the legislation in the past, noted during floor debate the bill was needed to ensure Missouri remained competitive with other states.

“Privately, this is a number one cost driver,” Engler said. “We have to make Missouri a better place to bring jobs and development and workers.”

So, there you have it. We have a test case here in Missouri, similar to the “experiment” conducted by Sam Brownback and radical Republicans in Kansas. That Sunflower State experiment was a miserable and enduring failure, and the deeply unpopular Brownback is hightailing it out of the state for a job Tr-mp offered him in the federal government, a strange job of promoting “religious freedom” around the world. Good riddance. But meanwhile, we can now sit back here in Missouri and either watch the jobs flood in and government revenues increase because businesses are much freer to discriminate, or we will watch a continued decline in Republican-dominated Missouri, reflected in this AP report in June:

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — New data show it’s unlikely Missouri revenues will grow enough to fully fund the budget passed by lawmakers last year.

State Budget Director Dan Haug on Friday announced state revenues grew 2.6 percent through May compared to the same period last fiscal year.

That’s well under the 7 percent needed to fully fund spending outlined in this year’s budget and the 3.4 percent legislators originally estimated.

Revenues also are below the scaled-back 3 percent-growth mark that Republican Gov. Eric Greitens and lawmakers predicted in January.

Lower-than-expected growth means funding cuts made by Greitens and his predecessor, former Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, likely will stay in place.

“Funding cuts.” Sound familiar? It should. That’s the kind of language used in Brownbackistan. Soon we will have our own Show-Me state version: Greitenstan.

The Trash Man

I’ve been thinking about trash lately. And a trash-the-Tr-mp segment on MSNBC this morning, featuring Republican Steve Schmidt and Democrat Joel Benenson (who were senior campaign strategists and advisors for, respectively, John McCain and Hillary Clinton), was a cosmic message to me to talk a little (a little more) about trash myself.

When I was a kid growing up in a small town in Kansas, every week a guy came by our house in his modified pickup truck, dutifully, to pick up our garbage. We, unfortunately, called him the Trash Man, as in, “Hey, the Trash Man is coming tomorrow.” But he had a name: Mr. Thurston. And he had an essential job: keeping the community clean and livable. If it weren’t for him, and others like him, all of us would be living in filth.

These days we have a real Trash Man we have to deal with. He also has a name: Tr-mp. And he also has a job, but it’s not like the job Mr. Thurston had. Tr-mp’s job, he thinks, is not to pick up the trash and better our communities; his job is to spread garbage and pollute our national community. It’s the one and only job Tr-mp is good at. I mean, he’s really good at it. Trash is everywhere.

Steve Schmidt and Joel Benenson were on MSNBC discussing, among other things, the latest revelation about Tr-mp, that he thinks the “White House is a real dump.” (I highly recommend reading the entire article published first by Golf magazine, just in case you need a renewed affirmation of how small, petty, phony, dishonest, and cheap Tr-mp is, as well as how many people, including foreigners, are willing to embrace and enrich him out of self-interest.)  Schmidt and Benenson were highly critical of Tr-mp for his remark about the historic residence, with Schmidt giving an especially moving account of the dignity and honor associated with the White House. But this is one case where Tr-mp has it absolutely right. The White House is currently a dump. It became a dump on the afternoon of January 20, 2017, when the Trash Man moved in. 

Tr-mp has trashed our institutions, as we all have witnessed. And almost hourly he trashes the truth, often in conjunction with another trash-spreader, Fox “News.” This morning, one of my favorite people, Rob Reiner, tweeted the following:

Exhausting to see a POTUS lie, break the law, act irrationally, undermine democracy & disgrace US every day. GOP, you know you agree. Impeach

Reiner is right that all of this is exhausting. It does wear one out watching the Trash Man distribute disinformation, catapult crap on the Constitution, and spend most of his time petty-tRelated imageweeting, playing golf, and using his office to enrich himself. Yes, that is exhausting. But Reiner is wrong in saying the GOP agrees that Tr-mp is disgracing the country. Most of them don’t think so, and most of those who do don’t care enough to do a damned thing about it. Impeachment is not on the horizon.

What is truly more exhausting than watching the Trash Man throw garbage in our country’s political streets and dump sewage in our electoral streams, is watching the Republican Party help him do it. They keep gas in the Trash Man’s truck. They keep him going. They are as responsible for the littered landscape, the polluted polity, as he is. Even those few Republicans who do—meekly—speak up, who do—mildly—complain about Tr-mp’s behavior, still mostly vote his way—the recent passage of a bill on Russia sanctions being the rare exception.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake has been widely celebrated for an op-ed he wrote (and, of course, a book for sale) criticizing Tr-mp and the GOP’s failure to adequately address his alleged betrayal of conservatism, as well as the dysfunction he has created:

…as I layered in my defense mechanisms, I even found myself saying things like, “If I took the time to respond to every presiden­tial tweet, there would be little time for anything else.” Given the volume and velocity of tweets from both the Trump campaign and then the White House, this was certainly true. But it was also a monumental dodge. It would be like Noah saying, “If I spent all my time obsessing about the coming flood, there would be little time for anything else.” At a certain point, if one is being honest, the flood becomes the thing that is most worthy of attention. At a certain point, it might be time to build an ark.

One would think that if Jeff Flake believes a political Noah’s Ark is needed to save us from a Tr-mpian flood of filth, that at the very least he would be the first one in line with a piece of gopher wood in one hand and a bucket of pitch in the other. But that’s not the case. All he has is an almost near-perfect pro-Tr-mp voting record. In other words, Flake is putting as much gas in the Trash Man’s truck as just about anyone in Congress and he deserves blame for that, not praise.

Finally, back to my Mr. Thurston. The vital public service he provided, for little remuneration, is a gazillion times more than Tr-mp or his family has ever provided or will ever provide. Mr. Thurston’s contribution to society was to help keep it clean. Tr-mp’s contribution is to dirty it. The man pretending to be president would not be worthy of putting on his feet Mr. Thurston’s boots. And the further truth is that the real Trash Man, whose very presence has made the White House a (hopefully) temporary dump, isn’t really worthy of living in a trailer park.

Nor are his Republican enablers.

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