“Roseanne” Is Dead, But Tr-mpism Lives On

I am happy to be wrong about ABC and Disney. Roseanne, the show, is now dead, again. I didn’t think that would happen. Good for them for doing the right thing.

And good for all of us. Being an active racist does come with at least some consequences. That’s a sign the country still has a moral pulse.

I’ve pointed out several times how strange it is that journalists have constantly combed the countryside for nits who support Tr-mp. The hopeful idea, at least I always wished, was to get a peek inside their confused cultic heads. Oddly, though, reporters never had to wander very far to find out what goes on inside a head sacrificed to Tr-mpism. Roseanne Barr’s Twitter feed tells (told) us much of what we need, or want, to know. Racist? Check. Conspiracy nut? Check. And on and on. The Tr-mpian nastiness is there in one form or another.

But I want to focus on a related characteristic that Roseanne’s disturbed mind reveals about Tr-mp and Tr-mpism and the followers of the cult: utter selfishness. Roseanne had to know that her many unhinged tweets, especially including the latest one about Valerie JaImage result for valerie jarrettrrett, might jeopardize the survival of her resurrected TV show and thus put many, many people associated with the show out of work. The ratings, while relatively good, have been declining since the first show. Thus, ABC had some room to move, if Roseanne ever went too far. Obviously, she didn’t give a damn about going too far. Obviously, she didn’t care all that much about those who worked with her and depended on her to keep her racism and her lust for hurtful lies to herself. Like Tr-mp, she couldn’t allow a disgusting thought to pass through her mind without giving it life here in the real world.

That’s who these people are. We don’t need more polls to tell us. We don’t need more what-are-they-thinking feature stories in the New York Times or The Washington Post or anywhere else to tell us. The Tr-mp cultists—not every Tr-mp voter is a cultist, but the number is growing—have shown us time and again who they are and what kind of country they want to live in.

Just look at the latest tragedy involving the Tr-mp administration aggressively separating children from their desperate, undocumented parents, parents foolish enough to think a Tr-mp-led America, full of white-nationalist Christians, would welcome them. Where is the outrage among always-moralizing Tr-mpers? Franklin Graham is crusading for Tr-mpism in California right now. Is he outraged at how “the stranger” is being treated? Nope. But he is outraged at liberals:

The progressives have infiltrated our schools, our government and our nation. Progressivism is nothing more than godless secularism, and it has stormed through the gates of America’s bulwark.

Evangelicals like Graham aren’t politically neutral Christians who love Jesus and want you to love him too or else He will send you to hell to be tormented forever. They are committed members of the cult of Tr-mpism. Graham was outraged at the recent vote in Ireland to give women the right to control their own reproductive lives, saying, “Just because the majority who voted in Ireland say that murdering the unborn should be legal, doesn’t mean that it‘s right.” While Graham moralizes about Irish politics and American liberalism, he doesn’t have anything to say about children being forcefully ripped from the arms of their moms and dads in the name of Tr-mp’s bigotry.

Nor is there much moralizing among Tr-mpists related to the new report on the actual death toll in Puerto Rico. After Hurricane Maria, the official estimates were that 64 American citizens died in the storm and its aftermath. A comprehensive study just published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that more than 4,600 citizens, and possibly more than 5,000, may have died in the days and months following the storm. The response of the Tr-mp administration was, and still is, woefully inadequate. When visiting the island last year, Tr-mp tossed paper towels and told us that the event wasn’t a “real catastrophe like Katrina,” largely thanks to him. The truth is we don’t know how many of the thousands of deaths were due to the lack of urgency among those responsible. But we know many were. And we know not many Tr-mpers give a damn either way.

What is it that connects Roseanne Barr’s latest tweet…to kids from Latin America being forcibly separated from their parents…to the ongoing neglect of American citizens in Puerto Rico? Racism? Of course. White-nationalism? Without a doubt. But the most profound connection is the selfishness involved. Tr-mp cultists are, like their leader, deeply selfish people who want a world in which white Christians maintain their rightful place at the top, no matter what it costs.

To All Democrats Who Want To Be President:

This won’t take long.

If you are a Democrat who hopes to one day fumigate the Oval Office, Air Force One, and other places in the Executive Branch that the Tr-mponic plague has infected, hear this: stop the nice-nice, Spock-like criticisms of the ongoing disaster we are all witnessing and start raising Truman-like hell.

I have heard all kinds of talk the past few months about how Democratic hopefuls should run their respective campaigns in the context of the overt, in-your-face corruption we see, in the context of the utter malfeasance and fraud and grift we behold on an hourly basis, in the context of a dishonesty so bold it doesn’t bother to hide its face. Some people think Democrats should avoid Tr-mp and talk rationally about the issues. Some think Democrats should try to appeal to those “real Americans” who still have the Tr-mp stink on them and want to wash themselves clean (right now I’m thinking of those union workers at a Harley-Davidson factory in Kansas City who voted for Tr-mp and are now out of a job). Other people think Democrats should hang around “the center” and try to win the votes of “suburban white women.” And on and on.

Well, hooey. I’m tired of hearing talk of moderation, talk of reconciliation, talk of appeasement. I’m tired of seeing Democrats in Washington, with fire after fire raging like Image result for kilauea volcanothose around the Kilauea volcano, go on television and take a rational piss on the inferno. Reason is a wonderful and necessary tool. Unfortunately it doesn’t work in politics. People don’t tend to make decisions that way. Thus, merely pissing on the multiple fires with streams of reason won’t do a damn thing to put them out. Maybe nothing will. But, dammit, get out your firehoses and try. Start making a real effort to match this moment we’re all in. The most dangerous place in America should be between you and a television camera, as you can’t wait to rage against the outrage.

Keep in mind I am giving advice to you candidates who want to win nationally in 2020, not those individuals who are running in congressional campaigns or Senate races this year. Campaigns for House and Senate seats have their own dynamics that may or may not include a heavy emphasis on what is going on in the country at large. But you Democrats who aspire to win the Whites’ House in a couple of years should now, right now, start a pound-the-table campaign of “it’s the corruption, stupid” on one hand, and a speak-loudly-and-carry-a-skull-cracking-stick campaign of “it’s the economy, stupid” on the other. The two are linked, of course, which makes it easy to follow the program. “The system is corrupt and the corruption is why average people get screwed.” It’s that simple.

If we want to make progress, we have to have fearless national leaders who don’t just meekly ask, but righteously demand, an expansion of the pie of opportunity and who can attract new voters who want the same thing, even as these lionhearted leaders hold on to Democratic Party voters who have been faithful to that vision all along. It ain’t that hard to do.

Now, go do it, dammit.





Rethinking Israel

Today is Nakba Day, the day of “catastrophe.” Today is the day Palestinian refugees—some 7 million of them—remember their displacement from their land, caused by the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and made worse by the subsequent Six-Day War in 1967, in which Israel captured the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, territories populated overwhelmingly by Palestinians and which are still under Israeli control today.

Not quite four years ago I wrote a piece (“We Are All Living In Israel“) that mostly defended the moral standing of the Israelis, even as they were prosecuting a bloody response to Hamas and the Palestinians at the time. I went back and read, several times, what I wrote. And based on the events of the last several days—culminating in that embarrassing and peace-killing ceremony celebrating Tr-mp and the move of our embassy to Jerusalem—I can say I would not write the same piece today.

It is important to understand that the context for my post in 2014 was the very real threat that Hamas and other extremist groups posed to Israeli civilians through the firing of imprecise rockets (almost 5,000 of them) and mortars (some 1,700) into Israel, many of them striking residential areas. In fact, as the BBC reported the following year, Amnesty International claimed that “Hamas rocket attacks amounted to war crimes.” The BBC article also noted:

Amnesty’s report also detailed other violations of international humanitarian law by Palestinian groups during the conflict, such as storing rockets and other munitions in civilian buildings, including UN schools, and cases where armed groups launched attacks or stored munitions very near locations where hundreds of civilians were sheltering.

Amnesty International, which had previously accused Israel’s government of killing Palestinian civilians and the unjustified destruction of property in Gaza, did not let the Israelis off the hook for their behavior in that 2014 conflict. It said some of the Israeli attacks in response to the shelling “also amounted to war crimes,” the BBC reported. But clearly most of the blame was placed on Hamas and the extremists on that side of the deadly exchange, with Amnesty saying,

The devastating impact of Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians during the conflict is undeniable, but violations by one side in a conflict can never justify violations by their opponents.

Again, my original focus on defending Israel four years ago was on the relative morality involved. I wrote:

Sure, there are bad actors in Israel. Sure, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli Defense Forces have much to answer for. Sure, any solution to the problem between Jews and Arabs is not enhanced by killing civilians in Gaza. I have several times criticized Israeli actions regarding their dealings with Palestinians. But in terms of a larger moral equivalency, there is no comparison between Israel and Hamas, or between Israel and other even more radical Muslim groups.

Today I’m afraid I don’t have the same certainty I had then.

Palestine Mourns Civilians Killed By Israel In GazaWith the approval of an uncompromising and unreasonable and increasingly uncivilized leader—Benjamin Netanyahu—Israeli troops killed almost 60 protesting Palestinians yesterday and wounded hundreds of others. Not much, if any, of the killing and maiming can be justified. Add to that the fact that there is widespread support for the embassy move among Jewish Israelis (Arab citizens are 20% of the population), an ill-timed move that can only mean that too many Israeli Jews have given up on a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and are willing to allow the Palestinians to languish interminably in what essentially are concentration camps in Gaza and the West Bank.

Further add that a whopping 59% of Israeli Jews have a favorable opinion of Tr-mp (he even has a 45-30 favorable mark among secular Jews there), and that, unbelievably, the mayor of Jerusalem is naming a parcel of land near the new embassy the “United States Square in honor of President Donald Tr-mp.” In a Facebook post, the mayor exclaimed: “Jerusalem returns the love to Tr-mp!” What does a sensible American say to that? Try this, written by Michelle Goldberg:

Tr-mp has empowered what’s worst in Israel, and as long as he is president, it may be that Israel can kill Palestinians, demolish their homes and appropriate their land with impunity. But some day, Tr-mp will be gone. With hope for a two-state solution nearly dead, current trends suggest that a Jewish minority will come to rule over a largely disenfranchised Muslim majority in all the land under Israel’s control. A rising generation of Americans may see an apartheid state with a Tr-mp Square in its capital and wonder why it’s supposed to be our friend.

Clearly, an apartheid state is not a moral state. Most of the defense of Israel up to this point has been that it is the region’s only thriving democracy, founded to welcome Jewish immigrants and exiles and, according to its declaration of independence, it had high hopes:

it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

Seven million Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank are essentially prisoners, subject to Israeli military law. In Gaza, the living conditions are unacceptable. In the West Bank, Palestinians have watched Jewish settlers—who retain full rights as citizens—move into their territory, most of the settlements authorized and encouraged by Israeli’s right-wing government (which has been “emboldened by Tr-mp”).

It is obviously true that not all the fault for the protracted problems between Palestinians and Israelis belongs to the Israelis. Palestinian leaders have been wedded to the ridiculous and counter-productive notion that they will never recognize Israel’s right to exist as a nation-state. Palestinian extremists have resorted to terrorism time and again, and are teaching each new generation that violence against Jews is their only option, Allah’s will.

But if the Israelis want to be the good guys, they have to be good. As the days pass, as they embrace, with violence, the actions of an American fool who happens to have the power to move an embassy, as they seem to be closing off each avenue for peace, they seem headed into a permanent apartheid state, one that simply cannot be defended on moral grounds.

Here’s One Campaign Promise Every Democrat Running For President Should Make

As zealous evangelicals, using Tr-mp as their vehicle, giddily move us toward their much-awaited and much-desired Armageddon, I will use a few moments to tell you one thing I want to hear from whoever ends up representing Democrats in the 2020 election for president. Before I get to that, though, I want to set it up.

I watched the Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress deliver his opening “prayer” today in Jerusalem, during the peace-killing embassy ceremony. The Jew-hating pastor, as expected, delivered an appalling supplication to one of his Lords—“the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”—and paid galling tribute to his other Lord—the shady shitgibbon in the Whites’ House. Jeffress, to no one’s surprise, managed to offend almost everyone, except those Israelis who are killing unarmed Palestinian protesters and those others who don’t give a shit if they are.

Other than the dangerous stupidity involved in the whole thing, there were any number of reasons to be outraged at the embassy ceremony today, from Jeffress to Jared Kushner to Benjamin Netanyahu, all of whom made sure to mention Tr-mp’s name as often as the indecency of the moment permitted, which is to say every other sentence. But the most outrageous moment for me was when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and shitgibbon’s daughter, Ivanka, unveiled the plaque at the new embassy in Jerusalem. Here is a closeup of a photo taken by Menahem Kahana, of the AFP news agency:

jerusalem plaque and ivanka

There, in letters the same size as the words identifying the embassy, was “DONALD J. TRUMP,” Lord Shitgibbon.

Okay. Here’s the deal. What I want any presidential candidate on my team, who is asking for my vote in a Democratic primary in 2020, to say is this:

Should I get elected president, it will probably be too late for me to move our embassy back to Tel Aviv—the damage has been done. But there is one thing I will promise you. Among the first things I will do after all the inaugural balls are over, after I sign several executive orders countermanding all the Tr-mp executive orders that countermanded all the Obama executive orders, I will hop my ass on a newly-fumigated Air Force One and fly to Jerusalem. With me, right by my side, will be a gold-handled masonry chisel—the most beautiful chisel you have ever seen—along with a carbide-tipped stone-busting hammer. Upon arrival at the embassy, I will put those American-made tools in my hands and, in the name of the American people, I will personally remove any trace of DONALD J. TRUMP from that plaque. Personally. I mean it. You can count on it. With my own hands. I don’t care how long it takes. I’ll do it.

Oh, and while I’m at it, and just to make clear my intentions, I’ll put the chisel to MICHAEL R. PENCE, too.

I wouldn’t walk, I’d run, to the polls.

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