Saturday, June 30, 2018

Friday, June 29, 2018

Personal Note: Getting Published With a Super Awesome Humor Horror Anthology 2018 Edition

Got a new story published this year in this anthology:

It's called "The Pumpkin Spice Must Flow" in the Strangely Funny Volume V humor horror series. It's on Amazon, and you can find the print copy with the ISBN-13 number 978-1949281002. There's a Kindle eBook version as well if you're doing the eReader scene.

Tell all your friends! I am planning on doing an autographed giveaway as soon as a shipment of copies get to me!

Meanwhile, I need to decrease my turnout here blogging, as I need to focus on writing projects for this year. I wanna needa hafta get a damn novel finished. sigh...

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Blood on the Streets of Annapolis, Blood In the Newsroom (w/ Update)


At least five people were killed and several others were “gravely injured” in a shooting Thursday afternoon at the Capital Gazette in Anne Arundel County, authorities said.
A shooter is in custody, police said. Police would not name the suspect, but said he was a Maryland resident in his late 30s and had specifically targeted the Capital.
“This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette,” said Anne Arundel County Deputy Police Chief William Krampf. “This person was prepared today to come in. He was prepared to shoot people...”
Phil Davis, a Capital Gazette crime reporter who was in the building at the time of the shooting, said multiple people were shot, as others — himself included — hid under their desks. He said there was a lone male gunman.
“Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. Can’t say much more and don’t want to declare anyone dead, but it’s bad,” Davis wrote on Twitter as he waited to be interviewed by police.
“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload...”

This attack on a newspaper office is coming on the heels of certain Far Right wingnuts openly calling for fellow wingnuts "to start gunning journalists down on sight." It's coming after months of donald trump calling reporters "enemy of the people."

We are at a moment when every form of public discourse is tinged with violence, and anger, and frustration while civil liberties are getting trampled by an administration eager to kill off due process.

We are at a moment where every sign in this nation is that we are honest to God in a Civil War. Side vs. Side, divided not by state lines but by conflicting ideologies of Right vs. Wrong.

Human Decency versus Sadistic Brutality.

And the brutes are gunning for a body count.

This isn't about angry guys with guns anymore.

This is about radicalized terrorists - toxic masculinity males - with an agenda to make this nation theirs by the tools of violence as their means.

I would still call for everyone I know who wants to stand for the right things - Freedom, Honesty, Justice, Legal Immigration and the Greeting of New Americans, the Right to Choose, the Right to Gay Marry, the Right to be You - to keep standing, to march in protests that are scheduled this Saturday to raise alarm about the children still being held prisoner by our sadistic government. We cannot back down even in the face of violence.

Love can drive out Hate.

But for the Love of God, stay safe.

Update (6/29/18): It is turning out the gunman had a specific grievance against the Capital Gazette newspaper, so this is falling back onto the argument against Angry White Guys With Guns. Still, we are now in a situation where the first impulse about any physical attack on reporters is by someone triggered by the Far Right on trump's word. The Dread that we as a nation are in a civil war is still a valid concern...

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Curled Up In a Coherent Rage

Justice Kennedy is retiring from the Supreme Court.

Try to think of every Far Right fantasy the wingnuts desire:

  • An absolute ban on abortion AND birth control, to the point where the criminalization of miscarrying will be allowed
  • Shoving Christian Prayer back into schools and making secular law more religious
  • Harsher immigration bans
  • Curtailing every legal gain that Gays, Lesbians and Transgender people have received in the last 5-10 years. Rights of gays to marry, gone. Rights to serve in the military, gone
  • Outright elimination of the Voting Rights Act
  • Gutting of the Civil Rights Act
  • Bringing back legalized segregation and other Jim Crow laws
  • Making gun ownership not only easier to obtain but making gun ownership mandatory (for everyone not an ethnic minority)
  • Denying equal pay for women, maybe even curtailing women's rights to work
  • Granting more corporate control of our economy and our lives
  • Pissing away any anti-trust powers our government has left
  • Flushing our environmental protection laws down the toilet

I dread the possibility that I will lose the right to say FUCK FUCK FUCK and FUCK THAT SHIT on my blog.

All of that will be possible under a Supreme Court that will lean six Republican votes to three Democratic ones.

I am starting to think Obama should have gone to the Senate floor and beaten McConnell over the head with a 2-by-4 until the Republicans agreed to vote on Merrick Garland.

To every Progressive, Far Left, Democratic-leaning voter who failed to show up for the 2010 and 2014 midterms, and who failed to show up to vote for Hillary in 2016, go fuck yourselves. The Judiciary Branch of the United States is now going to lean Far Right on every issue for the next 20-30 years. There's gonna be at least two trump appointees on the high bench, ruining our lives for half of the 21st Century. GODDAMN YOU.

And to Mitch McConnell (and your fellow Republican lackeys in the Senate) THE DEEPEST PIT OF HELL IS NOT ENOUGH FOR YOU.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

In the Pit of Antenora Resides The Dark Heart of Republican Treachery

Yeah, that's how moody I am tonight.

Spent the day railing against a horrific Supreme Court decision where five of the Republican Justices - including the one who stole a seat that Obama SHOULD HAVE filled - agreed with trump's evil Muslim travel ban, by ignoring the racism behind trump's intent and focusing instead on the vague wording that the Republicans use to excuse the reason the ban was put in place for.

Spent much of the day condemning one man: Mitch McConnell, the goddamn thief who obstructed Obama's turn to fill the Court vacancy both to deny Obama one more piece of legacy and to ensure a conservative dominance of the courts on the off-chance trump "won" the Presidential campaign (which he did through cheating, damn the Russians and damn McConnell for giving them political cover).

I wasn't the only one (to GQ's Jay Willis):

Nearly 18 months after President Trump rolled out the first of his clumsy, hamfisted attempts to disguise in legalese the implementation of his campaign promise to prevent Muslim people from entering the United States, the Supreme Court upheld the administration's Muslim ban in a 5-4 decision released on Tuesday morning. The majority opinion in Trump v. Hawaii, authored by Chief Justice Roberts, concludes that since the directive's authors were smart enough to call the ban something other than "Donald Trump's Official Muslim Ban No Burqas Allowed Woo-Hoo," it is therefore a lawful exercise of executive authority and cannot be overruled by judicial fiat...
The Hawaii decision makes 15 cases this term decided by the Court's most common five-justice conservative bloc: Kennedy, the traditional "swing vote," and then Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch. These result is a grim reminder that the Court's newest justice holds that title only because Mitch McConnell shredded whatever scraps of integrity remained in his body in order to steal an appointment from President Obama—and, when Senate Democrats objected to Gorsuch's nomination on substantive grounds, disposed of some of the same hallowed Senate "norms" he had used to justify his craven power grab in the first place...

I said it before: The deepest pit of Hell is not enough for Mitch McConnell.

If you're wondering what the "Pit of Antenora" is, I'm referring to Dante's Inferno where he describes the levels of the Ninth Circle of Hell, where Treachery resides. Anternora is the level reserved for those who betrayed their nations. McConnell technically deserves to rot there.

But in truth the level of damage Mitch is causing requires his twisted dark soul to find a place even deeper and colder than the frozen lake trapping the worst of the worst. Preferably parked right under Satan's frozen ass. McConnell's been doing such a good job of ass-kissing for Putin, he's going to have the right experience looking up to the Prince of Darkness he so clearly serves.

We are so very royally fucked, America.

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Worst Impulses of an Angry trump Nation

While the Beltway media is sitting around in their overindulging circle jerk arguing about civility in Virginia restaurants we should not overlook the fact that OVER 2000 CHILDREN HAVE BEEN KIDNAPPED BY OUR GOVERNMENT AND THAT THEY NEVER PLANNED TO REUNITE THESE FAMILIES.

Are you starting to understand this, America? Any of you? We are facing a humanitarian crisis of our government's own doing, and the people who are in any position to question this, fight back against this are all rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic just before Vesuvius erupts! (or something to that effect)

Then again, there's nothing we CAN do because the leadership we have in government knows exactly which part of America they answer to - that's not the majority - they answer to their primal angry destructive base. And I'm not the only one saying this. Drew Magary over at GQ is noting it too:

...In fact, and oh wow you’re not gonna believe this, but Trump voters tend to grow even fonder of Trump the more he fucks up at his job. A near-infinite number of gallons of ink have been spilled trying to explain the fever grip Trump has over this inordinately powerful bloc of the electorate. He lies to them. Fox News lies to them on his behalf. The Internet lies to them. The establishment media (hi!) disdains them and sows their distrust as a result. They’re going through difficult times and need bogeymen to lash out at. Their schools are garbage. They’re hooked on opioids. They harbor deep racial and sexual resentments that have only been superficially addressed through the years. Since 2016, I have been fed explanation after explanation as to why these people act and vote the way that they do.
But what if, and hear me out on this… what if it’s because the people are the problem?
America is a broken democracy at the moment, and Trump’s presidency has revealed the myriad ways in which it always has been. Going by polls, our leadership does not accurately reflect the views of a majority of our population. And yet, ever since Trump was elected, I have had a very difficult time comprehending the fact that over 60 million people voted for him. Voted for THAT guy. It was an electorally unforgivable act, and yet they went ahead and did it anyway. These voters are always portrayed as beholden to forces outside of their control, both socioeconomic and political. But it is the will of those same people that put Trump in power and have approved of nearly all of the Republican Party’s efforts to mutilate democracy to better serve its own greed. The people did this...
At nearly every turn, our worst leaders are enabling our worst people. They are, in the most soulless possible fashion, REPRESENTING them. When Trump chucks a handful of Starburst at Angela Merkel, he’s representing the people. When an anonymous Trump official says that the official Trump Doctrine is “We’re America, Bitch,” they’re representing the people. And when Trump uses ICE as an agency of soft ethnic cleansing, he’s representing the people. If Trump has brought out the worst in them, well the worst was always there to begin with. I can say “Trump doesn’t REALLY stand for America” to myself over and over, but I know that’s a lie.

This is not a spell. There’s no prince who’s gonna ride in with true love’s first kiss and bring sunshine and flowers to the land once more. There is very little in America’s history to suggest that its evils haven’t been a direct result of the will of a sizable and highly influential number of its citizens, and it is an enormous abdication of leadership when politicians and titans of industry don’t have the sack to tell these people that they are WRONG.
Because they are. Trump voters were wrong to elect him president. They are wrong to support mass family jailings at the border. They are wrong to blindly support corrupt police and sheriff’s departments. It is a fundamental, perhaps lethal, flaw of our democracy that our leaders are rewarded more for catering to the people (and craftily exploiting them in the process) rather than actually serving and leading them...

While this is all taking place, trump's policies are starting to have an adverse affect on the parts of the nation that supposedly supported trump. His tariff war against steel is forcing companies to shut down and forcing manufacturers like Harley Davidson to relocate to countries where the costs won't hurt them. Our farmers are starting to see their foreign markets close all doors to them.

But I guarantee you every single "trump Voter" is humming a happy tune tonight knowing every libtard and dark-skinned Other out there is feeling butt-hurt.

And the anger and rage that is cutting this nation further apart is getting worse because whatever leadership we have right now is too cowardly to make a moral stand and lead us away from our nation's worst impulses.

We are so very royally fucked as a nation. And about 62 million trump voters are loving every minute of it.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Sins of Minority Party Rule (w/ Update)

It should be noted that a majority of Americans do not support trump and his lackeys on their horrific child kidnapping plan along the U.S. border. And yet, Congress is dragging its collective feet on the matter because both the House and the Senate are under Republican control, and the Republicans are profiting from this overt racism.

It should be noted that a majority of Americans do not support massive tax cuts for the rich, yet the Republicans controlling Congress passed a massive tax cut bill last year that only profits the rich and has done NOTHING for our nation's middle-income and working classes. Worse, they are poised to pass another deep tax cut bill for the upcoming 2019 budget.

It should be noted that a majority of Americans want affordable health care, yet the Republican Party in charge of everything keeps pursuing a Kill Obamacare agenda that hurts everyone but plays to their Obama-hating voting base.

It should be noted that a majority of Americans are Independent voters but tend to (barely) vote Democratic. But the Republicans control much of the federal government and a majority of state legislatures/governors, meaning that much of the legislation being passed aren't what the majority of voters wants or needs.

To take notes from Steve M. over at No More Mister Nice Blog:

Two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the Trump administration's practice of taking undocumented immigrant children from their families and putting them in government facilities on US borders, according to a CNN poll conducted by SSRS. Only 28% approve. But among Republicans, there is majority support for the policy....

American voters oppose 66 - 27 percent the policy of separating children and parents when families illegally cross the border into America, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today.
Republican voters support the separation policy 55 - 35 percent, the only listed party, gender, education, age or racial group to support it...
I say this all the time: America is not primarily a conservative heartland that's besieged by a left-leaning minority living on the coasts and using elite status to tyrannize the majority. The major fault line in this country is between Republicans and everyone else in America. I'm not saying that this is a liberal country (although it is on a number of issues), but it is not a conservative country. Republican dominance of our government at the federal and state levels is largely an artifact of electoral gamesmanship and a highly effective conservative propaganda machine that successfully demonizes Democrats; it doesn't reflect majority support for Republican policies...
What's happening here is what's called Minority Party Rule. It's not about political rule of an ethnic or religious minority - although in some nations like Syria and Iraq it worked out that way - it's about political rule by a group that does not reflect the political will of the majority.

John Cole over at Balloon Juice once brought up a desire to talk about Minority Party Rule in America, although I haven't seen a thorough article posted yet. It's a complex argument to make and hard to stay focused on because the rage of the idiocy of it all takes over and you have to step away for an hour before continuing (this has been a blog post months in the writing)

Minority Party Rule in the United States is a headache because our electoral system is based on Winner-Take-All: whoever gets the most votes - even if it's not a majority of votes - just wins that seat. As a result in certain elections where a spoiler third candidate runs - Perot in 1992 and 1996 for the Presidency, the gubernatorial elections that left Maine with unpopular LePage - a candidate the majority of voters didn't want can end up winning.

The Presidential election process takes on an extra layer of the Electoral College where it's not who wins the overall popular votes but who wins enough states (with their Electoral values). This was how trump - garnering only 42 percent of the popular vote below Hillary Clinton's 45 percent - stole the presidency (well that and Russian sabotage, but that's a separate rage point).

If we witness Minority Party Rule overseas, it's usually in the form of dictatorships where the ethnic or religious minority had been granted undue control of the nation or had played factions among the majority against themselves. Those nations tend to have bad histories of human rights abuses and civil wars because the majority population flares up against the minority that rules through force and corruption.

Minority Party Rule itself isn't always a problem: Most parliamentary systems are multi-party and rarely does a majority party gain enough seats to rule without hassle. Most elections won by a plurality forces the large parties to form coalitions to create a government stable enough to rule until the next set election (some coalitions do fall apart over certain issues, in which case the government falls and emergency elections kick in). The system still is responsive enough to react to crises that should force the right leadership into making the right coalitions to keep things working.

But in the system we have - a Federal Republic (not an actual democracy) of checks and balances -
it's harder to hold a government accountable when ONE party holds the key to ALL branches of government the way the Republicans currently control the Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary. Especially when that control came not due to the majority supporting it but due to rigging and gaming the electoral process.

When you look at the current leadership in DC, you'll see a Republican Party led by the likes of Ryan, McConnell and trump who all know they do NOT need to answer to the majority - they need to placate their minority base - and so they govern as they please, even in the face of polling numbers that mark them as some of the most unpopular life forms in modern memory. All they have to do is stoke their base to turnout for the midterms, all they have to do is keep their deep-pocket funders rolling in their tax-free profits, and let gerrymandering and voter suppression do the rest.

The only thing holding a Minority Rule Party like that accountable is The Reality-Based World. Bad governance leads to mistakes, which leads to disasters, which leads to outrage and angry majority voters who finally get sick of it all and try their best to flip the bad actors out of power.

Sad thing about that is, by the time those disasters take place - think the Iraqi Occupation, think Katrina, think the CDO Housing Subprime Bubble - the damage has been done. Innocent people have suffered, honest lives lost.

And then, damn us all, the SOBs responsible for all that avoid criminal accountability and regain the chance to lie and bully and steal their way back into power again.

Which is why we're facing a new round of disasters - Say hello to the Republicans trying to gut healthcare and Social Security! Say hello to trump's Baby Jails for immigrant toddlers! Say hello to trade wars against Canada and our FORMER Euro allies! - that will consume this nation in darkness, debt, and despair.

We can't keep playing this back-and-forth of sane Democratic MAJORITY leadership and insane Republican MINORITY misrule.

We really can't.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP VOTING REPUBLICAN. Fight back against gerrymandering. Get everyone you know registered to vote and balloting this midterms. It matters. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, OUR NATION AND OUR CHILDREN MATTER.

(Update 6/30/18): I still seem to be writing this out ahead of the Beltway curve. Dana Milbank at Washington Post is thinking along the same lines:

Republicans have been defying gravity for some time. As New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait reminds us in a smart piece, they lost the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections. Electoral college models show Republicans could plausibly continue to win the White House without popular majorities.
Because of partisan gerrymandering and other factors, Democrats could win by eight percentage points and still not gain control of the House, one study found. And the two-senators-per-state system (which awards people in Republican Wyoming 70 times more voting power than people in Democratic California) gives a big advantage to rural, Republican states...
The backlash is coming. It is the deserved consequence of minority-rule government protecting the rich over everybody else, corporations over workers, whites over nonwhites and despots over democracies. It will explode, God willing, at the ballot box and not in the streets...

I dread it will explode, not from the majority fighting to take their power back but from the minority of Angry White Guys terrified of losing power they don't deserve.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Children Crying For Their Parents in trump's America


This is just 10 children we can hear. Multiply this to 2000 children. Keep multiplying because this is what trump and Sessions and Neilsen and the rest of those sadists in the White House want to do to every Latino/Hispanic child they find, I shit you not.

They are going after Naturalized families now, on top of all these families trying to find asylum and help in the United States. They are going to go after more children, and even more children, and even more.

And it's not even because they're trying to use these kids as trading chits to force the Democrats in Congress to sign in on trump's goddamn Wall.

They're doing this because they enjoy it. They've stirred up decades of anti-Latino outrage and they're pumped on that Fear and Hate and they're reveling every minute in this hell they've inflicted on others.

This isn't about the gangs. These aren't members of MS-13 getting thrown into cages. These are not drug mules, or gun smugglers, or rapists, or thieves, or rioters, or monsters.






Thursday, June 14, 2018

What the Republicans Are Doing To Children

The ongoing immigration issue with trump's aggressive policies is turning into a quagmire of questionable and unethical and inhumane practices.

Offensive above all is how - seemingly beginning under trump's misrule - the Border Patrol and ICE agents are intentionally splitting up families "in order to send a message". This message just happens to be "Hey, Mexico and Central America! The United States is now led by a group of rampaging assholes!"

'Cause only assholes would take a baby getting nursed by her mother.

The situation has gotten enough attention - especially after a reporter did a recent tour of a detention facility (converted from an empty Wal-Mart, how's THAT for symbolic?) - to where the DC Press Corps tried asking the White House Press Room about what was going on.

The answers they got? Shut up and don't question your government overlords.

Specifically, Attorney General Sessions came out and quoted the Bible at everybody: "Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order..."

So Sessions wants to quote the Bible at us to justify inhumane and sadistic behavior?

This is what I thought immediately in response:

This is what the Lord says:
“A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.” - Jeremiah 31:15

That gets quoted again in Matthew from the Gospels, specifically the part where Herod massacres every boy child in an attempt to kill the Baby Jesus. HOW'S THAT FOR A BIBLICAL REFERENCE, SESSIONS YOU SONOFABITCH PHARISEE.

But that's not the Biblical quote most have been going for. The more common quotes have been:

“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt." - Leviticus 19:33

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me...” - Matthew 25:35

The proper Christian response to immigration is to be more humane; to improve our system of asylum to allow those fleeing persecution, terror and war; to keep families intact and safe.

The proper American response to immigration should be to realize that ALL Americans come from everywhere - my ancestors were immigrants, we are ALL the sons and daughters of immigrants - by virtue that those who seek our shores WANT to be Americans.

On both counts, trump and his buddy Sessions and pretty much EVERY Republican who revels in bashing immigrants - not just the illegals, but even the ones who are Naturalized and working towards Citizenship - are failing. There are missing children, sacrificed to lapsed mismanagement and neglect and God knows what else. They don't care. Worse, they're enjoying this.

Sadists and Pharisees, the lot of them. Hypocrites and criminals all.

America should be better than this, people. We should be treating children better than this. Goddamn us.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Doubts About Singapore This Week

Just to note that right now trump is in Singapore planning to meet face-to-face with Kim Jong Un, despite all of the earlier bashing, mockery, failure to commit (on trump's part), and scrambling to save face (also on trump's part).

trump is REALLY REALLY desperate to "earn" himself a Nobel Peace Prize. Most Republicans have this insane love/hate/really-hate relationship with that Peace Prize: They argue whenever Democrats receive it - Gore, Obama, others - and belittle it whenever possible, but at the same time they make excessive "nomination" efforts (many of them aren't even allowed to do so, doesn't stop them from acting like idiots in public) to get their warmongering guys like Dubya and even trump to win one because it conveys Statesman status.

Anyway, trump is trying to establish his foreign policy mastery - right after insulting the hell out of Canada and the rest of the G7 allies - by doing his damnedest to suck up to the North Korean dictator to try and get the tiniest concessions he can fake getting. trump has already agreed not to bring up anything that would offend Kim to his face - especially human rights abuses - and there's little else that trump is bringing as incentives for bargaining chips as need be.

Under normal circumstances, I hope for the best possible outcome of any foreign nation negotiations not just for the United States but also our allies in the region who can benefit from peace or stability.

But in this case, I don't want to get my hopes up. trump is going to be way out of his league here, and Kim is likely to walk away from this visit with all these gifts and leaving none behind for ourselves.

You gotta remember, trump's negotiation skills are not all that great: He panders, he bullies, he demands, he tries to wear down his opponent but offers little in exchange worth taking. Against small businesspersons and contractors unable to keep up, it works. Against political peers, well... Just look at the disaster that was this weekend in Quebec. All trump got out of that was the certainty his tariff trade war is going to escalate, and not in our favor.

The best possible outcome out of this is that Guam gets a chance to get out of U.S. protection and switch over to Japan or something. 'Cause right now they're sitting ducks for any Korean missile strikes if trump ever brings up his goddamned "lil Rocket Man" barbs.

Just remember to Duck and Cover, Asia. Duck and Cover...

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Wreck in Quebec Falls Mainly On trump's Dreck.

To the seven people who follow this blog, you've no doubt realized I express only the greatest DISDAIN and HATRED towards Loser of the Popular Vote donald trump.

That I knew trump would be a train wreck in the White House, that he would shred every norm, break any law, betray every ally, if it meant filling his own pockets and satisfying his own Id (his Ego too subsumed by narcissism to be of any value anymore).

This weekend trump went to the G7 meeting, a gathering of the top economic powerhouses - U.S., Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Canada (with UK/France/Germany/Italy as part of the EU) - to coordinate current trade and finance issues and plan for long-term economic stability.

With trump already issuing tariffs aimed at Canada and Europe, the threat of escalating a trade war was a major topic. With trump going to these meetings with open disdain for certain discussions and a refusal to respect anyone else's opinions, this was looking like a bad weekend for the global economy.

Well, yeah. It may have actually gotten worse.

Let us refer over to this other Paul, fellow by the name of Krugman with a noted reputation for knowing economics. Hey, Paul, this is Paul here, alright if I quote you right now from your New York Times piece? Thanks, Paul:

...Still, there has never been a disaster like the G7 meeting that just took place. It could herald the beginning of a trade war, maybe even the collapse of the Western alliance. At the very least it will damage America’s reputation as a reliable ally for decades to come; even if Trump eventually departs the scene in disgrace, the fact that someone like him could come to power in the first place will always be in the back of everyone’s mind.
What went down in Quebec? I’m already seeing headlines to the effect that Trump took a belligerent “America first” position, demanding big concessions from our allies, which would have been bad. But the reality was much worse.
He didn’t put America First; Russia First would be a better description. And he didn’t demand drastic policy changes from our allies; he demanded that they stop doing bad things they aren’t doing. This wasn’t a tough stance on behalf of American interests, it was a declaration of ignorance and policy insanity.
Trump started with a call for readmitting Russia to the group, which makes no sense at all. The truth is that Russia, whose GDP is about the same size as Spain’s and quite a bit smaller than Brazil’s, was always a ringer in what was meant to be a group of major economies. It was brought in for strategic reasons, and kicked out when it invaded Ukraine. There is no possible justification for bringing it back, other than whatever hold Putin has on Trump personally.
Then Trump demanded that the other G7 members remove their “ridiculous and unacceptable” tariffs on U.S. goods – which would be hard for them to do, because their actual tariff rates are very low. The European Union, for example, levies an average tariff of only three percent on US goods. Who says so? The U.S. government’s own guide to exporters...
Was there any strategy behind Trump’s behavior? Well, it was pretty much exactly what he would have done if he really is Putin’s puppet: yelling at friendly nations about sins they aren’t committing won’t bring back American jobs, but it’s exactly what someone who does want to break up the Western alliance would like to see...

I doubt our own economic leaders - business CEOs, Wall Street, major investors - are going to be thrilled that the economic system they've known for the past 50 years or more is about to go into the dumpster fire. Any advantages trump and his handlers think they have trying to bully other nations into serving their (not ours) whims aren't there. Yes, the U.S. economy is too massive to wage war against. Yes, a trade war would hurt the other G7 members more than it would hurt America.

But don't forget Machiavelli's maxim about Fear and Love: The real trick for a Prince is to avoid being HATED, because once your opponents and underlings reach that stage they will pay any price driven by that hate to destroy you.

Our staunchest and longest-serving allies neither fear nor love trump at this moment: They Hate him now. If they fear anything, it's the likelihood of kleptocrat/dictator/real victor of the trade wars - Putin - getting everything he wants including the dissolution of a united Europe.

Getting into a trade war with the United States is one thing: All of Europe has to be wary now that Russia will escalate their manipulations of local "populist" movements to disrupt their elections and destabilize their governments. Any of which is possible when economic downturns caused by the trade war make most nations turn on each other in rage and confusion.

Still, for all Putin is getting out of this chaos, the one truly enjoying all of this has to be trump. This fulfills his sociopathy. Convinced that the world is his to own and destroy, he will now take his pleasure in burning it all down.

trump: "Everything burns."

We as a planet are so royally fucked.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Florida: Where Republicans Tout "Safety LAST"

What the ever-loving hell was this? (via Steve Contorno at Tampa Bay Times):

For more than a year, the state of Florida failed to conduct national background checks on tens of thousands of applications for concealed weapons permits, potentially allowing drug addicts or people with a mental illness to carry firearms in public.
A previously unreported Office of Inspector General investigation found that in February 2016 the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services stopped using a FBI crime database called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System that ensures applicants who want to carry a gun do not have a disqualifying history in other states.


The employee in charge of the background checks could not log into the system, the investigator learned. The problem went unresolved until discovered by another worker in March 2017 — meaning that for more than a year applications got approved without the required background check.

THE PASSWORD? THE EMPLOYEE LOST THE PASSWORD?! AT WHAT POINT DID ANYONE THINK "Hey let's call the IT guys and have them reset the login"???

Was this going to be a problem for Florida while this lapse took place? In case someone may have noticed the background checks weren't happening?

During that time, which coincided with the June 12, 2016 shooting at Pulse nightclub that left 50 dead, the state saw an unprecedented spike in applications for concealed weapons permits. There were 134,000 requests for permits in the fiscal year ending in June 2015. The next 12 months broke a record, 245,000 applications, which was topped again in 2017 when the department received 275,000 applications.


Department employees interviewed for the report called the NICS checks "extremely important." Concealed weapons licenses "may have been issued to potentially ineligible individuals." If it came out they weren't conducted, "this could cause an embarrassment to the agency," the report said.

AN EMBARRASSMENT TO THE AGENCY?! HOW ABOUT "Oh my FUCKING GOD we may be letting more people get shot and killed!"

How the HELL do you NOT do your job for a full year?
How the HELL do you NOT call in IT if you've got issues with your logins?
How the HELL do you allow safety requirements to lapse like this for a full year?
How the HELL did anyone NOT NOTICE these background checks weren't being done?

I work in libraries. I have job duties I perform on a daily and weekly basis. If I miss even one job function by just a day or two my co-workers are on me to make sure it gets done.


Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has made it a priority to speed up the issuing of concealed weapons permits since he was elected in 2010. In 2012, he held a news conference to celebrate the state's one millionth concealed weapons permit, noting the time it took to process an application fell from 12 weeks to 35 days on his watch. There are now 1.8 million concealed weapon permit holders in Florida.
Now running for Florida governor as a Republican, Putnam's campaign touts his expansion of concealed carry permits as one of his top accomplishments.

Oh, that's right. The guy in charge of the Department - Putnam - doesn't give a rat's ass about public safety when it comes to firearms. Anything to make the NRA's life easier to get more guns into the hands of dangerous people.

This is how he supervised the Agriculture (and Consumer Services, which is an odd blending of two separate government functions) Department. Without a goddamn care for procedure and safety. With more concern for his NRA and corporate buddies profiting from his FAILURE to do his damn job.

And now this sonofabitch is running this midterms to be Governor.

Putnam will run this state like he ran that Department. That is, he won't do his goddamn job.

Putnam will pander to the gun nuts instead of the millions of Florida residents who are begging and pleading now - after wave upon wave of mass shootings - for better gun safety laws and enforcement.

This expose is a horrifying revelation. It is shameful, if not criminal negligence.

Every person in that Department who had a hand in this failure should resign or get fired with cause.

Putnam should apologize for his failure to do his job. Putnam should resign from it if he's still working as the commissioner. Putnam should drop out of the governor's race and flee the state of Florida in shame.

Pity of it is, Republicans no longer have any shame. Just look at who they vote for anymore. I bet Putnam is going to campaign on his making it this easy for gun nuts to buy firearms. "Under my governorship, we won't do ANY background checks at ALL! Why bother? We've done it already!"

This makes me sick.




The Republicans cannot be trusted to uphold their oaths, cannot be trusted to do their jobs.


Thursday, June 07, 2018

The Republican Crook Operating In Broad Daylight

And no, it's NOT trump I'm talking about. It's his sleazy buddy Scott Pruitt (via Martin Longman at Washington Monthly):

Three months after Scott Pruitt was sworn in as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, his executive scheduler emailed Dan Cathy, chairman and president of the fast food company Chick-fil-A, with an unusual request: Would Cathy meet with Pruitt to discuss “a potential business opportunity”?
A call was arranged, then canceled, and Pruitt eventually spoke with someone from the company’s legal department. Only then did he reveal the “opportunity” on his mind was a job for his wife, Marlyn.
“The subject of that phone call was an expression of interest in his wife becoming a Chick-fil-A franchisee,” company representative Carrie Kurlander told The Washington Post via email...

The deal ended up not happening, but can you imagine the gall of a government official pushing such a nepotistic act so blatantly? Over a freaking Chick-Fil-A franchise?!

At least when Teapot Dome happened, it was over something like oil, you know, actual commodity value. This is penny ante stuff. Back to Longman:

...Chick-fil-A is not Harvard University. They will accept you if you have the dough and a decent business plan. But, I suppose it can’t hurt to throw your influence around a bit if you have some. Making the EPA director happy probably isn’t either here or there to the people who run Chick-fil-A but it can’t possibly hurt. All Pruitt had to do is to make this call himself on his own time. Most likely, they would have told him where to download the application and maybe offered some tips for getting approved, much like they would for anyone else making that call. But, who knows, maybe he could have greased the skids a little bit. That’s how things often work, and it’s not a big problem.

I dunno if Longman's being sarcastic on that point, because trying to influence a corporation into doing something for your wife seems unethical as hell.

Instead, Pruitt uses his staff to make the call and thereby crosses a bunch of ethical lines. It’s such a lazy form of corruption...

And here we get to the nub of the problem. Pruitt's corruption is blindingly lazy and trivial and wasteful. It'd be funny except that it's costing taxpayers every time he indulges in this shit. Just look at this from Huffington Post:

  • A bizarre and insanely cheap rental agreement with an oil lobbying firm.
  • Trying to fly first class instead of business/coach, and spending on expensive luxury hotels in violation of government travel guidelines.
  • An obsessive and paranoid spending spree over security, millions of dollars towards armored cars, extra security (20 guards, almost triple the number the previous EPA chief hired), and some weird super-secure phone booth for his office (that ended up costing double what the original invoice was set for).
  • Firing or demoting agency staff who questioned his spending. Also booting scientists off of various committees for clearly partisan reasons. And giving raises to personally-loyal staffers far above what other pay raises have been in the agency.
  • This is not on the HuffPo list, because that came out in April and this stuff is new (via Washington Post): Sending staffers out to do menial services such as pick up his laundry, take him shopping for his favorite brand of hand lotion (!), and buying a used trump Hotel mattress (?). 

Pruitt is showing the sad sign of a rich man whose business philosophy has been "Other People's Money": why waste your own wealth when you can waste someone else's? Here, he's wasting ours.

There are a few reasons why you don't put a person with a business background in a political office: Above all, where behavior that would be "normal" in the private sector becomes flagrantly unethical and stupid in a public sector where all actions have to fall under public scrutiny.

Let's be honest, people: Pruitt's behavior is at a level of gross corruption we haven't seen since the Harding administration. Not exactly the stuff of Teapot Dome, but more along the lines of Charles Forbes, Secretary for the newly developed post of Veteran Affairs whose personal corruption involving kickbacks was one of the more publicly known scandals before Teapot Dome got out.

Pruitt's behavior is the kind that in a more honest - or more accountable - administration would have led to resignation within days of the first breaking news reports. Instead he's been allowed to continue under trump's aegis, with the Shitgibbon himself singing Pruitt's loyalty to his own greedy self.

Say hello to the new normal, where the scandals that would get you booted from the White House would be if you took trump's second scoop of ice cream.

We are so very royally fucked, America.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Remember D-Day: To Boldly Go

(update: Thanks again to Crooks And Liars for linking me to Mike's Blog Round Up! Three huzzahs and wassups to my boss Tengrain over there)

When remembering the Normandy landings, we Americans need to remember that our Allies of World War II stormed the beaches alongside us. The French landing at Sword alongside Polish, Nordic, and British forces. The British led additional allies at Gold. Americans fought at Utah and Omaha.

Taking on Juno Beach were the Canadians, eh?

It gets overlooked in World War II narratives but the Canadians were a vital part of the War Effort to stop the Nazis. While part of the British Commonwealth and thus under British generalship, the Canadians on their own were a fearsome and dedicated army that impressed - okay, terrified - the Germans more than any other fighting force.

So anyway, the Canadians were assigned their own beachhead - Juno - out of the Commonwealth nations taking part in D-Day, and for the most part they handled some of the toughest fighting of the landings save for Omaha.

Among the Canadians was a Captain in the Royal Artillery by the name of James Doohan.

You might know him better as Scotty.

He was part of the landing that was able to fight their way inland, but by nightfall they were forced to press onward and he ended up getting hit by friendly fire during a patrol. He nearly got shot through the chest but a cigarette case in his pocket saved his life. Doohan DID lose a finger.

So when you watch Star Trek episodes, you might notice once in awhile on his right hand the middle finger is missing. Doohan mentioned later if he had ever gotten asked about the missing digit he'd note that an engineer is bound to lose a finger by accident.

Regarding the war, Doohan couldn't return to battle but he did switch over to being a pilot in the Canadian Air Force, during which he got tagged as the craziest pilot in their roster by flying a plane between two telegraph poles just to prove it could be done. When the war ended he went home, and then got into acting, starting in radio and then moving onto television. He picked up guest roles here and there before winning the spot on this science fiction gig that lasted... well, forever.

Doohan did a lot in his life: flew planes, fought on D-Day, punched Klingons while giving them their language (!), and probably told fellow Canadian William Shatner more than once to get bent. All in all, a Man's Life Lived Well.

So to donald trump, taking the time this week to insult our Canadian allies, ye might wanna rephrase that laddie.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Anniversary Again for Tank Man

It's been so crazy with the ongoing madness of a trump administration that I almost forgot about this.

We all need the reminder that we NEED to stand against the tyranny of political bullies, be it the Chinese autocrats or the trumpian sociopaths.

Dear NFL Owners

So the current news flurry - other than the shocking revelations that Manafort was trying to suborn perjury - was how trump tried to cancel the expected Philadelphia Eagles appearance at the White House to honor their Super Bowl win when it turned out that, well, nearly every Eagle player refused to hang out with a lying adulterous cheating scuzbucket.

trump ended up hosting a dismally attended affair filled with government staffers to make it look like football fans showed up, with trump trying to mock NFL players for unpatriotic motives before failing to even sing "God Bless America" correctly.

All in all, an embarrassing display by the President Loser of the Popular Vote, a clear sign of how trump has politicized even the most trivial act of a nation's leader, and underscoring how precarious the professional sports leagues are dealing with this maniacal self-service sonofabitch.

Dear NFL Owners who succumbed to trump's insane ploy to belittle NFL players who were kneeling in protest against police brutality towards unarmed Blacks:

Once you agree to be trump's bitch, you will ALWAYS be trump's bitch.

And you're finding out right now that being his bitch is not a smart move at all.


Monday, June 04, 2018

And We're At the Point In the trump Criminal Proceedings Where the Crook Is Desperately Bullying His Way Out of Certain Doom

I'm gonna throw this up here:

You might notice a few things.

Yeah, I have the fucker Blocked. I had to crawl through Anne Laurie's link at Balloon Juice to pull this up.

Second, trump argues "stated by numerous legal scholars" but fails to mention even ONE by name. This is a strawman defense: if he even succeeds in finding one legal expert to back his claim, I guarantee you there will be five others arguing that a President cannot self-pardon based on the legal premise that a person cannot serve as a Judge (and by example, provide a legal decision such as pardons) in his own case.

Third, he tries to wiggle out by saying "when I have done nothing wrong." But has any other person sitting in the White House ever bring up such an argument to self-pardon before? Innocent people don't beg for pardons, only criminals do. I know Obama hadn't, because Fox Not-News/Limbaugh/Breitbart/D'Souza and the rest of the Far Right Noise Machine would have thrown the biggest conniption in history. I don't think it ever came up as an issue for Dubya. although it should have regarding the blatant human rights violations of torture he oversaw his tenure. It may have come up during Clinton's impeachment, but to be honest I don't recall if it had, and again the goddamn Far Right Noise Machine would have pulled that conniption bit.

Finally, he ends his pity party tweet by claiming the Mueller investigation is - once again - A WITCH HUNT, which is generally offensive to actual witches and ignores the fact that Mueller is actually catching people with indictments and guilty pleas.

What this tweet represents is a warning flag from trump's camp, trying to rally other Republicans to defend him when (not if) the situation gets to where trump makes his attempt to self-pardon.

Again, this would require enough - even ONE - Republican Party leader to step up and slap trump down for his criminal hubris. That will never happen. This party is led by cowards afraid of their angry wingnut voter base AND their greedy wingnut SuperPAC funders.

In the end, this really requires enough American voters - ALL of us not beholden to trump's lies and destructive ways - to step up this midterms and VOTE THE GODDAMN REPUBLICANS OUT OF OFFICE. Get Democrats in control of the US House. Do what we can to swing the US Senate Blue. Get enough state legislatures and Governor seats under Democratic majorities.

This is war, where trump is firing off every tweet to burn a section of our Constitution away with his ignorance and hate.

Stand up. Vote Democrat. For the LOVE OF GOD, STOP trump at ALL costs.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

I Survived Orlando MegaCon 2018: And What a Shindig It Was

I've been a bit busy being outraged by the sins of the week, but I do need to note previous weekend trip to Orlando's Orange County Convention Center to cause chaos and anarchy among the mobs of cosplayers and vendors!

As always, I go on the Saturday because that's when the costume contests are going on, meaning a lot of cosplayers and costumes to witness. It also means it's the busiest day of the weekend, so expect a lot of long lines...
Like this one, just to get inside the West Concourse itself.


I am, in my own way, cosplaying here. This is my GEEK costume from my college days of yore when I went to UF and haunted all the comic book stores between 1988 and 1992 (yeah, that old).

Once you get your ticket checked in and you receive the daily wristband, then you get into ANOTHER line to wait to get into the vendor floor and artist alley that opens an hour later.

 And then, the mad rush inside!!!

 Oh, great, been here less than ten minutes and already Deathstroke's angry at me.

 Documenting the atrocities. Say hello to a 10 dollar burrito.

 Death is here to enjoy the long walks, the stressful waiting, the hurried running from event to event...

And more walking, and more walking...


The "Harlem Shake" song started playing nearby so I asked the Jurassic Park cosplayers to keep dancing...

 It's the DC Writers panel! Unfortunately, none of them were hiring (oh, cmon, guys, I can write a great Brother Power miniseries...)

The main hallways of costumers gathered to cosplay their hearts out. I did not get a chance to go down to the lower level where all the Deadpools had herded. Another time, Wade!!!

Say hello to a friend: Laura, from my gaming days playing the MMO City of Heroes! She's not the one making silly faces to the selfie camera...

And now, the reason why I decided a few weeks ago to attend MegaCon this year: our one, our only, the best wrench wench in the 'Verse all the way from some place in Canada: JEWEL STAITE (I apologize, how DO you pronounce the name...?)

 Mal: I don't believe there's a power in the 'Verse can stop Kaylee from being cheerful.

With brief YouTube clip: alas, we were seated away from the room's speakers so we only got to hear her straight from the stage.

Ms. Staite spent much of the chat sharing stories about starring in Firefly, and Stargate Atlantis, and a couple of other shows. She was sweet and charming and a pure delight.

As she was one of the last major stars of the evening, it was 7:30 or so when she finished - oy, long day - and so Laura and I did our best to go find a place along International Drive to eat... took us a half hour to walk to the parking lot (the shuttles would have been stuck in traffic) and then WE got stuck in traffic and didn't get to a decent place to nosh - Bahama Breeze, incredibly good Caribbean food - until 9 PM. Spent the time sharing the photos each of us took during our 'con experience - she had been there to get celeb photos with Ms. Staite and a certain Jeff Goldblum - and talking about gaming since City of Heroes shut down a few years back.

All in all, a fun day. Just remember, MegaCon, WE NEED MORE REST STOPS oy my feets ow ow ow ow ow...

Only trump Could Make the Legal Institution Dumber

Oh ye Gods, this will never end in a sane and rational manner. Via Adam L Silverman at Balloon-Juice, picking up on the story out of the New York Times:

Legal turduckens Jay Sekulow and John Dowd prepared a twenty page legal memo explaining why the President could not obstruct justice and therefore should not be interviewed by the Special Counsel as part of the Special Counsel’s ongoing investigation. Someone leaked it to The New York Times...
As one would expect of a legal memo produced by a well-past-his-prime John Dowd and a never-was grifter of the religiously devout Jay Sekulow, the memo is full of errors in legal reasoning. Again from The New York Times (emphasis Silverman's):
“There could not possibly have been intent to obstruct an ‘investigation’ that had been neither confirmed nor denied to White House counsel,” the president’s lawyers wrote.
Moreover, F.B.I. investigations do not qualify as the sort of “proceeding” an obstruction-of-justice statute covers, they argued.
“Of course, the president of the United States is not above the law, but just as obvious and equally as true is the fact that the president should not be subjected to strained readings and forced applications of clearly irrelevant statutes,” Mr. Dowd and Mr. Sekulow wrote.
But the lawyers based those arguments on an outdated statute, without mentioning that Congress passed a broader law in 2002 that makes it a crime to obstruct proceedings that have not yet started.
Samuel W. Buell, a Duke Law School professor and white-collar criminal law specialist who was a lead prosecutor for the Justice Department’s Enron task force, said the real issue was whether Mr. Trump obstructed a potential grand jury investigation or trial — which do count as proceedings — even if the F.B.I. investigation had not yet developed into one of those. He called it inexplicable why the president’s legal team was making arguments that were focused on the wrong obstruction-of-justice statute...

If I could interpret: trump's legal team has the conclusion that trump wields broad executive power under Article II of the Constitution, and it was merely their job to fit the best possible legal history to defend that conclusion. They probably don't even care that they're basing it on a law that no longer exists, a law that most judges - even Republican ones - would ignore in favor of the 2002 law that supplanted it.

What the lawyers are arguing is that trump as President can never obstruct justice, and indeed can shut down any criminal investigation at any time and by his whim.

As pointed out on Southpaw's tweetUnder this logic, the president could open a booth on Pennsylvania Ave to accept bribes, people under federal investigation could stop by with a briefcase full of cash, and he could order their investigations closed—all without incurring any criminal liability for himself.

There is no goddamn way the Founders intended Article II to grant any President the power to be a crook.

Silverman also points out that trump's own lawyers make the argument that "the President did, indeed, author the fraudulent statement for his son (donald jr.) regarding the 9 June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Jr, Jared, Manafort, and a variety of Russian assets and agents." Another potential obstructive act, but also creates a situation where donnie junior is on record lying about that meeting to Congressional committees.

This remains the major problem of working with an unrepentant bullshitter like trump: He lies so often that you can't keep track, and his current statements / arguments will undermine previous ones with reckless abandon.

It would be frivolous to make mention that the leaked memo from Dowd's office was reportedly typed up in Comic Sans font.

Comic Sans font.


The only font more evil than Papyrus.


When you have a lawyer that works with the most unprofessional font in human history, you are not working with the best and brightest from the Martindale-Hubbell directory.

What is horrifying is how trump will push this argument to all ends, bully the system into accepting his interpretation, because he alone profits from it - both literal and metaphoric - on his path to Authoritarianism.

But how can we thrive when the would-be dictator is an idiot of the highest order, twisting his own legal help into idiots as well?

Troubling thoughts for troubling times.

Puerto Rico the Forgotten Scandal

June is traditionally the beginning every year of the hurricane season on the Atlantic coast.

And yet, we're still trying to recover from last year's season, especially with the horrific devastation in Puerto Rico. Months after getting shredded by Hurricane Maria, only now are we getting even an estimate on the costs of that disaster:

A new Harvard study estimates that at least 4,600 people in Puerto Rico have died from causes related to Hurricane Maria, a far larger number than the official government death toll of 64.
According to the new study, which was conducted by a group of independent researchers from Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, these deaths could often be attributed to delayed and limited health care in the aftermath of the storm, which shuttered several hospitals, crippled the power grid, knocked out cell service, and made many roads impassable...
It’s been eight months since the hurricane hit Puerto Rico, and the island still suffers from a damaged power grid, a short supply of clean water, and a dearth of other essential services. The stress from and effort to rebuild and recover after the storm also continues to put a strain on those suffering from medical conditions...

I can tell you on an anecdotal level I know someone who had family in Puerto Rico, and that person lost at least one loved one in the aftermath of Maria. Here in Florida, we've received thousands of fleeing Puerto Ricans who couldn't stay in their own homes because their homes were gone and the risks were growing worse by the day.

A lot of this can be placed at the foot of President Loser of the Popular Vote trump. Referring to Jamelle Bouie at

Puerto Ricans were still recovering from Hurricane Irma when Maria made landfall last autumn. The storm devastated the island, destroying homes and crippling vital infrastructure. The crisis that ensued demanded an immediate and robust response from the federal government. But the response was sluggish, even as early reports made clear that this was a serious tragedy in the making. The White House made few preparations in the lead-up to the storm, and it was weeks before the Federal Emergency Management Agency committed its full resources to the island. During that time, clean water was scarce, food was hard to find, and hospitals struggled to care for patients, some with serious injuries and illnesses. Most of Puerto Rico lacked electricity for months, and medical supplies were few and far between. When FEMA did eventually act, it dropped the ball. To deliver 30 million meals, the agency contracted with an Atlanta-based wedding caterer with no experience in emergency management. By the time the company’s contract was terminated, it had delivered just 50,000 of those meals...
Master chef Jose Andres - one opposed to trump on a personal level - did far more serving meals to Puerto Rico than our own government, on his own time and dime. Back to Bouie:
A faster, stronger response would have prevented some of those deaths. Even if the White House was unprepared when the storm initially hit, much of the aftermath could have been averted if President Trump had focused his administration on the disaster and brought the weight of the federal government to bear on the unfolding tragedy. Instead, Trump sent every signal that he simply didn’t care. He downplayed the devastation to Puerto Rico and blamed Puerto Ricans for not doing more to repair the damage. He went after the mayor of San Juan, who had criticized the government’s response. He didn’t use his Twitter account to publicize relief efforts or generally encourage Americans to help...

And as soon as FEMA and other government agencies could get out of Puerto Rico, they did, leaving behind little in the way of repaired cities and working utilities.

As much as this is a sin of the trump administration and a Republican Party unwilling to help anybody who's not in their circle of rich friends, this is a dark stain on our nation as a whole. Nobody else really wants to look at Puerto Rico and do anything about it:

Out of sight and out of mind. It's not really a state (even though it's a Territory our nation is responsible for), it's not really our citizens (despite the fact that YES Puerto Ricans ARE Americans), it's not really our families or children left to suffer (if this were Florida we'd be sending every emergency truck and crew we've got like we did responding to Hurricane Irma).

Of all the places most vulnerable to another hurricane this 2018, Puerto Rico tops the list. Far more likely than Florida or Georgia or South Carolina or Mississippi or Texas or Louisiana or Alabama or North Carolina or Maryland or Virginia or anywhere else along the East Coast.

And yet our government still won't lift a finger. Because we are not yelling at them every minute of the day to do anything about it.

What does that say about us, in the end?

We should be better than this, America.

For the 4,600 dead. For the thousands left alive, we need to do better by Puerto Rico and to our own.

Charity services are still up. Contact and help:

Unitarian Universalist Disaster Relief Fund

United For Puerto Rico

Jose Andres's World Central Kitchen