Eau de Swamp: The Fragrant Stench of Corruption

twentytwentynews, eau de swamp

Franklin, Contributor

If someone was inclined to make a scent that embodied today’s Republican party under Trump, then it would definitely be called eau de Swamp. It would smell like cocaine-laced crumpled dollars that had been smuggled across Eastern European borders deep in the nether regions of someone’s underwear, yet, mixed with the distilled sweat of punch drunk investment bankers and the heady stench of spittle flying from the mouths of enraged white guys yelling hate speech epithets. It could be sold in the gaudy unused bottles that were made for Trump’s failed line of vodka. Oh, what a pungent bouquet.

This odiferous parfum concoction wafts off Manafort and Cohen and Stone and Trump Jr. and the, oh so lovely, Ivanka, the sweatshop goddess. It permeates gerrymandered statehouses and Governor’s mansions and even lowly boards of education. It seems that everywhere there is a gathering of Republicans these days, there’s that unmistakable smell of burnt American dreams and festering corruption. It burns your eyes the same way that perfume does in houses of ill-repute. Sickly sweet and artificial.

Although Trump and his sycophants seemed to have an irresistible hypnotic effect on one third of our country, at least two thirds recognize his putrid odor and the obnoxious decay emanating from his cohorts. Those malodorous machinations to destroy American democracy in favor of a rigged bureaucracy for the wealthiest have seeped into the nostrils of those who mistake the rot for greatness. It defies explanation, but there are people out there who still like sniffing gasoline or spray paint for a buzz…

That Trumpublican smell can be explained. It’s what happens when core values are sold cheaply for power. It’s what happens when winning becomes more important than standing up for what’s honorably right. It’s what happens when you run instinctively from challenge and only listen to those who confirm your deeply held prejudices and assumptions. The secret ingredients are fear, ignorance, and a healthy spoonful of divine entitlement and superiority. A splash of gerrymander, perhaps. Eau de Swamp has been around awhile, but it’s never been so concentrated, nor marketed so brazenly. Or, sold so cheaply.

The vile permeation of it has choked civil discourse and strangled statesmanship. Its fester corrodes our common sense and its elixir lays waste to our sense of common good. Those who enjoy it, enjoy it as a reeking repellent so they may have the freedom to pursue their own selfish interests and craven pleasures and they laugh as others gag on its stench. Eau de Swamp isn’t for just anyone even though everyone can certainly smell it.

It’s the funk of pay-for-play politics and rotten quid pro quo secret deal-making.

In Alabama we’ve seen it at all levels of conservative government and, more recently, with the Oliver Robinson scandal it seems to have also involved some Republican state legislators and congressman in their delusional quest to neuter the EPA. As they talk of family values, they ensure the environment is a landfill for big businesses and they guarantee that quality, affordable healthcare is only a pipe dream for their constituents.

Trump has told us not to trust what we see or hear, but surely people can still smell the lies and corruption. Surely, Americans will come up for fresh air after breathing in these noxious fumes. Right now, the Republicans are intoxicated by it and it’s made them giddy. They have no idea how much harm they have created for themselves and others by bathing in that acidic cologne. It’s scents for the incensed and it won’t be very long until it causes a rash.

They may want to consider going au natural for a bit. Eau de Swamp stinks to high heaven.

So, my son can download a 3-d printable gun?

3D Printed Gun, Twentytwentynews

Clete Wetli, Contributor

Look, my son can barely be trusted operating a toaster and now I hear that it’s legal for folks to download guns that can be made from a 3-d printer? Are you fucking kidding me? I mean, aside from questionable household appliance operation, this kid can run circles around me when it comes to cyber-technology.  Hell, about the time I finally learned to successfully program a VCR and figure out dial-up, he was hacking through network security at his elementary school; so he could play Minecraft- whatever the hell that is.

It’s not ok to be able to download printable guns that kill people. It will never be ok.

Yeah, the Trump administration lifted the ban on this madness because they’ve turned it into a “free speech” issue. Yep, we need untraceable guns in America like a starving dog needs two assholes…

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you ought to…

Anyway, this whole concept of being able to download a plastic gun that can be assembled without any traceable serial number ought to be horrifyingly disturbing to most Americans.

As I’m writing this, a judge has temporarily suspended the insanity, but it seems like only a brief stopgap measure before Hell’s gates swing wide open.  C’mon, is there anyone with two brain cells to rub together that thought this was a good idea?

First, there are a few practical issues. Primarily, plastic isn’t exactly all that safe for firearm construction and it’s very likely that the first few dipshits who fire their printed weapons may find them exploding in their tiny orange hands. Second, plastic tends to have somewhat adverse reactions to heat, so their newly acquired phallic symbols may turn flaccid after shooting a few rounds- however, that may be something they’re used to already.

I mean, mankind has had some seriously dumb ideas, but this one is even more stupid than the K-cup or the rhythm method or edible toilet paper. Yeah, I know there are big-time geniuses ready to point out that these new-fangled printers cost thousands of dollars and blah, blah, blah. Look, cell phones weighed twenty pounds not too long ago, too.  But, try to buy a semi full of fertilizer and you may be probed in places you never thought possible.

Whether you are a big time 2A person or a tree-hugging peace activist, there’s no one who could possibly think that downloading a printable firearm is a sane, sound idea. Although we are focused on the constant media parade of mass shootings, so many people are dying in domestic violence situations or suicide. Do we really need more firearms out there that can’t be traced or controlled?

There’s already enough stuff on the internet that’s falling into the hands of the wrong people, insane people, murderous people, and there are no easy answers to a lot of these questions. Yet, some of these questions are very simple have pretty damned obvious answers, like- 3d printable guns is a very fucking stupid idea because no good ever will come from it! Yeah, just like that. The dumb fuck promoting this stupidity had about the same marketing forethought as, say, the Tide pods morons or Elon Musk’s affordable flamethrower.

Seriously, it’s time that we get control of the proliferation of guns in our society. It’s time we start thinking proactively to prevent nonsense like 3d printable guns from ever being a real and accessible thing in in the first place.

It’s not enough to bitch and protest every time there is a televised massacre or a heart-wrenching suicide story. It’s time to vote and it’s time to stand up against this kind of insanity. In your heart, you know that printing 3d guns is a horrible idea and it should be stopped right now.

Nothing good will ever come of this and you know it.

Mo silence, Mo bullsh*t

mo brooks, twentytwentynews

Franklin, Contributor

With all of the bizarre shenanigans coming from the White House these days, you’d expect that your congressman might have an opinion or two on tariffs or Putin or he might possibly be trying to figure out how to get healthcare for the people in his district that don’t have it.  In North Alabama, all we get is Mo silence or Mo bullshit.

Recently, the dysfunctional incumbent who is too impotent to actively represent his district, Mo Brooks, discovered that he was getting his ass kicked in this last quarter of fundraising by a 2-1 margin. So, Mo decided to issue the following statement about his opponent, Peter Joffrion, saying, “We have all the money we need right now to make sure voters know that Peter Joffrion is from the radical left-wing of the Democratic Party.”

Well, if that ain’t Mo bullshit, I don’t know what is. (At least Mo’s flunky intern who wrote that bullshit didn’t pull out the cliché of calling it the “Democrat Party”, but rest assured that there are Mo cliché’s coming).

Anyone who has spent more than thirty seconds with Peter Joffrion knows without a doubt that he’s not “radically left.” This Mo bullshit response is a clear indicator that Mo has no effective argument against the fact that Peter Joffrion is gaining traction in the Fifth Congressional District because he is a leader who listens to his constituents and offers workable solutions. Mo, on the other hand, is too busy trying to convince his base that hordes of South American immigrants are desperate to relocate to, uh, Scottsboro or trying to convince us to enlist in Space Farce so that we can start new interplanetary wars over mining Uranus. Yep, Mo bullshit.

Of course, Mo silence ain’t that much better. Brooks resorts to that often when it becomes obvious that his legislative ideas are about as effective as a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest or nailing Jell-O to a tree. Mo also likes to run away. Especially if he thinks some radical left wingers are gonna show up at a town hall and he’ll have to answer a real question or two. Mo questions, Mo flees. It’s Mo than we should be forced to put up with when all we get is Mo and Mo incompetence.

It’s just Mo of the same old, same Mo.

Look, this election truly matters because we can’t afford Mo bullshit or Mo silence. We need leadership and we need someone that will stand up for North Alabama. We need Peter Joffrion because he will represent North Alabama honestly and fight for the things we care about. We don’t need Mo grandstanding or Mo embarrassment. The last thing we need is Mo problems or Mo rhetoric.

So, let’s help Mo retire. He’s had a long, albeit ineffectual, run and his tired doublespeak isn’t doing much of squat to help the people of North Alabama. Either Mo’s voting no or he’s hiding from his constituents or he’s saying some embarrassing shit you’d expect to come from the lips of an angry adolescent. Yeah, Mo likes to vote no a lot because he thinks it makes him look like he has principles. Unfortunately, as part of the Freedom Caucus cult, all it means is that he’s mastered the art of throwing a monkey wrench into the gears of effective government. Mo gridlock, Mo kickin’ the can.

Even in Congress, Mo is about as appreciated and revered as a turd in a punchbowl or being stuck in an elevator with Ted Cruz without air conditioning in August.

It’s time to for bold leadership, it’s time to elect Peter Joffrion. We’ve had Mo silence and Mo bullshit than we can stand.

Why did Mo Brooks Vote against the Opioid Bill?

Clete Wetli is a liberal political activist living in Huntsville and a regular contributor to AL.com. Email Clete at decaturclete@gmail.com or visit cletewetli.com.

In a rare and stunning display of bipartisanship, Congress voted 396-14 to pass a package of bills (SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act) that would expand substance abuse treatment and law enforcement efforts to help stop the opioid epidemic that’s killing 150 Americans a day. As usual, Rep. Mo Brooks put his extremist brand of Tea Party politics over the interests of his constituents and voted against sensible legislation that would save lives in North Alabama.

It seems Brooks was more interested in spending tax payer dollars on an unnecessary ‘Space Force’ rather than doing something about the drug crisis that’s ravaging his district. Or, he’s been trying to figure out a way to explain why he voted for Trump’s tax scam that’s making our debt and deficit explode. I guess he feels like spending taxpayer money on space cadets is more important than helping people get the treatment they need but can’t afford.

Not known for his innovative solutions, Brooks probably thinks War on Drugs tactics will solve the problem. Things like expensive mass incarceration, mandatory minimums, and “just say no”. Well, we all know those approaches didn’t do much to curb the availability of drugs on our streets and simply made the problem worse.

All of this is hardly surprising given Brooks’ bizarre notions about healthcare. To Brooks, healthcare is a privilege that should only be affordable to “people who lead good lives” and folks with pre-existing conditions should just suffer by paying much higher rates. Maybe, he feels that people who were over-prescribed painkillers by doctors getting kickbacks ought to just suffer, as well. Maybe, he thinks that folks with genuine chronic pain issues or terminal illness ought to just suck it up and try to cope without medication if there’s a chance they may become addicted. According to Brooks, they should just work harder at leading “good lives.”

In Brooks’ home county of Madison, someone overdoses every six days. Yet, Brooks doesn’t think it merits a legislative response and he probably bemoans the idea of tax dollars being spent on substance abuse treatment. His base loves the more expensive and less effective option of mass incarceration, because it allows them to stigmatize people dealing with addiction. Although ineffectual, it makes conservative politicians appear tough.

In North Alabama, everyone knows someone who’s been adversely affected by the opioid crisis. Doing something immediately about it should be a top priority for every member of Congress. Instead, Brooks has been trying to figure out how falling rocks raise sea levels and how to justify the need for space soldiers. Yeah, we’ve all been worried about those Tang-drinking scientists going to war with each other on the International Space Station.

The problem is that Brooks takes every opportunity to paint government as an inefficient and incapable entity that simply devours money. He, like President Trump, fails to realize the magnitude of this crisis and the need to ensure that people who need treatment can get it. In this situation, government has an obligation to help and the right legislation will pave the way for necessary funding that will save and transform lives. Brooks’ ‘no’ vote on this legislation shows the people of North Alabama exactly what his priorities are. They certainly aren’t with North Alabama communities battling the opioid crisis.

The problem with extremists like Brooks is that they always put their narrow ideology over the practical needs of the people they were elected to represent. It’s bad enough that he ignores climate change and increased the deficit, now Brooks voted against helping people get the care they need. Once again, Brooks failed North Alabama.

Why I’m Voting for Peter Joffrion for Congress

Jerry Waters, Contributor

Aside from the fact that the incompetent incumbent, Mo Brooks, thinks that falling rocks causes sea levels to rise.

Aside from the fact that the pandering politico, Mo Brooks, hypocritically voted for Trump’s tax scam which is exploding our nation’s deficit and debt so that the wealthiest among us can make obscene profits at everyone else’s expense.

Aside from the fact that the ambassador of embarrassment, Mo Brooks, continually spews a litany of juvenile verbal diarrhea like claiming there’s a “War on Whites” or saying he’ll “stop nothing short of shooting” undocumented immigrants.

Aside from the fact that the captain of cluelessness, Mo Brooks, has held the office for years and can’t seem to sponsor any legislation that would significantly benefit his constituents in North Alabama.

And, aside from the fact that the dullard of doublespeak, Mo Brooks, has suddenly decided that kissing up to Trump is more important than finding ways to bring economic development, affordable healthcare, and educational opportunities to his North Alabama district because he’s too busy jousting ideological windmills.

So, with all that moronic morass aside, there’s finally an honest, honorable candidate, Peter Joffrion, that is ready, willing, and able to strongly represent the people of North Alabama.

Joffrion was the Huntsville City Attorney for almost thirty years and he was a key player in bringing in numerous economic development projects for the city and thousands of jobs.

Joffrion hasn’t spent his career pandering for votes or mindlessly espousing an extreme political ideology. He’s served his community by mentoring kids at the Boys and Girls Club and helping at his church. He’s running because cares about bringing jobs to the rural parts of North Alabama. He’s running because he knows that his constituents need access to affordable healthcare for their families without the fear of being denied for pre-existing conditions or trying to pay ridiculously high deductibles. He’s running because he wants to fight for educational opportunities for the kids in his district so they can compete in today’s evolving economy.

Peter Joffrion isn’t interested in appeasing special interest groups or well-heeled lobbyists because he understands the concept of being a servant leader. He knows that being a representative means putting the people first and he won’t run away from difficult questions at a town hall like Mo.

Joffrion supports our military and our aerospace/ high-tech industries. He knows how valuable they are to North Alabama. He cherishes our veterans and wants to ensure that they have the care they deserve after they have served their country. Joffrion isn’t interested in perpetuating the culture wars, he’s interested in doing what’s right for the people he represents.

So, that’s why I’m voting for Peter Joffrion for Alabama Congressional District 5. It’s time that we have a real representative, rather than an ideological, extremist mouthpiece. It’s time we elect someone who takes the job seriously and will listen to all of his constituents. It’s time we choose a congressman who is willing to work across the aisle for the good of the community he serves. It’s time for us to get behind a man with a vision who’s a skilled negotiator, rather than a divisive, self-promoting, gaffe machine.

Peter Joffrion is a breath of fresh air. Mo Brooks is the poster child for partisan gridlock and extremist rhetoric. Peter Joffrion is someone we can trust and someone who will listen. Mo can’t be trusted and he runs away from his constituents.

North Alabama has gone a long time without real representation in Congress. I’m voting for Peter Joffrion because I know he’ll be a strong, intelligent, and passionate for everyone in North Alabama. I know he’ll stand up for what’s right and I know he’ll stay focused every day on the people who elected him.

If you’ve ever wondered why Washington is so dysfunctional, just look at Mo Brooks’ record of mind-blowing incompetence and lackluster results. Getting rid of Mo and his career politician cronies is a necessary first step toward bringing back effective government.

Peter Joffrion is the solution to our embarrassing problem that we call Mo Brooks.

“Mo on the Rocks” sung to the tune of Neil Diamond’s “Love on the Rocks”

Franklin, Contributor

Mo on the rocks

Ain’t no surprise

Just add stones for the ocean to rise

It ain’t strange if you hate climate change

All the time

Gave you my silt

Gave you my slag

You left me in Congress without much to say

Pandering’s done

Now all I want are some bucks

First, they say they love you

Then, they get to know you

Suddenly you find you’re out there

Sounding like a fool

When they know they have you

All that science, so true

Nothing you can do or say

You’ve got to leave, just get away

We all know you’re wrong

You need that science screed

You can say what you want

Not much you can do when you’re making it up

May be blue skies above

But it’s cold when your Mo’s on the rocks

First, they say they love you

Then, they get to know you

Suddenly you find you’re out there

Sounding like a fool

When they know they have you

All that science, so true

Nothing you can do or say

You’ve got to leave, just get away

We all know that you’re wrong

Mo on the rocks

Ain’t no surprise

Just add rocks for the ocean to rise

It ain’t strange if you hate climate change

All the time

The Attack of the Cohen-Heads!

twentytwentynews, michael, cohen

Franklin, Contributor

Disclaimer: This story was originally put in the “Catch-and-Kill” bin, but after possibly declining several offers of obscene amounts of money to bury it like a gnawed bone in the backyard, it was quietly moved to the “Catch-and-Release” bin. (Please refer to paragraph 17, section C of your non-disclosure agreement for more details.) Or, we just made this shit up to point out how surreal it is that people eagerly read tabloids for their unparalleled journalistic excellence regarding celebrity alien abductions and “SHOCKING REVELATIONS!” and that tabloids can easily afford to pay out millions for salacious gossip.

Please note that this story is written by a hipster, questionably sober, Yorkie Canine-American with poor typing skills and acute attention deficit disorder when in the presence of squirrels, but everything else is undeniably and completely true, unless it is not, or if there is pending litigation.

Provided that the Era of Trump miraculously doesn’t end in some apocalyptic nuclear winter, historians will remain perplexed when they try to understand the unwavering, cult-like support of The Orange One’s followers. Trump was, indeed, prescient when he declared he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose his base. In fact, the leader of Trump’s fan club, Michael Cohen, expressed his passionate love of the Mango Mussolini by saying he would take a bullet for The Don. The media has labeled Cohen as Trump’s personal attorney and “fixer”, but it seems more likely that Cohen is the cartoonish embodiment of a mafia henchman in its’ most hackneyed and clichéd portrayal. His defenders should be called “Cohen-heads” because Trump has violently grabbed them “by the base of their snarglies!”

Perhaps, they are not human after all…

While America consumes mass quantities in deep regret over electing a moron con-man for president, they realize that this is just the beginning of “The Attack of the Cohen-heads!” The Cohen-heads are generally a Machiavellian species devoid of morality and ethics with the singular purpose of amassing wealth, the tacky trappings of luxury, and high social status. They are related to another alien life-form, although of much lower social class, called Trumpsters who worship the Orange One and have an innate, uncanny ability to rationalize and legitimize the most disgusting and outrageous behavior of their tweeting, golfing, incoherent god. Trumpsters and Cohen-heads have infiltrated America posing as normal humans, but they can be detected by examining their right-wing conspiracy-laden social media rants, their obsession with incarcerating Hillary Clinton, and their inexplicable love of artificial tanning while eating Filet-O-Fish sandwiches.

The Cohen-heads and Trumpsters share a mean-spirited worldview and pursue their political agenda like famished locusts that leave nothing in their wake but destruction and famine. Their obvious hypocrisy and inability to tell the truth is baffling to the humans who interact with them. The appear outwardly like others in the community, but in truth, they’re an ideological leech that feeds off its host body, directing their skin-suit to tweet with the hive-mind of Fox and The Orange One to receive their next instructions for global dominion. They seek to colonize the Earth and use misinformation and mass media as weapons of war. They may also be using long red ties held together with tape, we’ve heard.

Now, I know you think that this is a wild conspiracy theory, but it is obvious that The Orange One is not human. His skin tone is clearly alien and his diet consists of eating mostly artificial substances. His weak grasp of language is also a major clue that he is simply not from here. The Cohen-heads, also clearly aliens, aligned with the Trumpsters to ensure that they amass wealth, which they may be sending back to their gilded, intergalactic mothership, “The Covfefe.”

Clearly, there is no other explanation as to how Trump got elected or how he continues to have an approval rating in the double digits. It defies all reason and it must be some sort of alien plot for harvesting the planet. Any sort of rational justification for the existence of Michael Cohen has been debunked and he remains categorized as an extraterrestrial parasite.

There are two choices for Americans as they suffer the Attack of The Cohen-heads, you can put your tin-foil MAGA hat back on and pretend everything is normal until you notice your skin slowly turning orange, or you can join The Resistance, learn the truth, and vote.

Don’t believe the Cohen-head who said, “When my people come to colonize this planet, you will be on the protected rolls, and no harm will come to you.” To them, you are nothing more than mammal flesh waiting to be charred in a flame pit while they consume mass quantities.

Members of The Resistance have little choice but to “Narftle the Garthok!”. If you’re human and reading this, you know exactly what I mean…

Who gets to define “fake news”?

Clete Wetli, Contributor

As Facebook faces a Congressional inquiry and public relations nightmare into their sharing of private user information and the dissemination of fake news, we must determine what exactly makes a news story fake. It’s not enough to simply claim that a biased or slanted piece is fake and it’s also dangerous to haphazardly label satire and other forms of written expression as fake to suppress circulation.

News is broadly defined as the reporting of recent noteworthy or important events. It is supposed to convey the facts and the relevant, salient details of a situation that has changed. Pieces are published or broadcast based on their potential to engage news consumers and that decision is based on a subjective opinion of the piece’s newsworthiness or importance. Obviously, opinions and editorials are commentary on news, but in today’s media landscape they are often infused in the reporting of news. Opinion injected into news may be annoying or distasteful, but it doesn’t necessarily render news as suddenly fake. It may make the presentation of the news slanted and may influence consumers to feel a certain way about it. When this happens in its most extreme form, it is propaganda.

Fake news is a deliberate attempt to make a news story appear true when the writer or publisher knows that it is based on lies, hearsay, or that pertinent facts have been purposely omitted. This can be treacherous as stories develop quickly, change dramatically in substance, and when the totality of facts is not immediately known.

Although the methods and forms of news products has changed, it is worth remembering that this conflict is certainly not new in our society. Revisiting the legacies of William Randolph Hearst, Joseph Pulitzer, and Joseph Goebbels are, indeed, illuminating when studying the effects of mass media and deliberate bias in shaping public opinion. Fundamentally, mass media communication has always been a deliberate decision between a sender of information and a receiver. In this discussion, both bear culpability in the arena of “fake news.” Senders, or publishers, have a responsibility to accurately label their content. Receivers, or consumers, bear the task of determining the validity of content and, more importantly, must accept the idea that no one source should be blindly accepted as definitive. Consumers need to do their research. Publishers need to be ethical and carefully label content to avoid consumer confusion.

For example, twentytwentynews.com is clearly left-wing commentary and it’s labeled as such. The moniker of “news” in the title is appropriate because it deals with changing, noteworthy current events and it’s made immediately clear to readers that the news is presented through editorial comment. No one comes to this site expecting a “just the facts” presentation devoid of interpretive insight or commentary. Just in case there is any confusion, the editor and mascot is a hipster Yorkie, which should serve as a big clue to those might mistake it for, say, CNN or The New York Times. Twentytwentynews.com doesn’t pretend to be something that it is not and, in fact, celebrates its dedication to liberal ideology and political policy. For example, when we’ve had fake satirical interviews between the Yorkie and public figures, it’s not masquerading as truth and may God help you if you are confused in any way. If you are, we’ll have Franklin, the Yorkie editor-in-chief call you to clear up any misunderstandings.

In a world where we can’t trust corporate publishers to be forthright about their labeling of content and suspect that news stories may be slanted for political purposes, it is up to consumers to do their research and step out of their algorithmic, pre-determined comfort zones. However, after you fight off nausea due to watching a few minutes of Fox and Friends to learn how crazy people think, you can always come back to twentytwentynews.com for some mental healing and reading material that is significantly higher than our president’s preferred fourth-grade vocabulary level.

The battle over defining “fake news” is just one skirmish in the modern media war. The only way to win in this war is to seek higher truths, to critically read dissenting opinions, and to remain skeptical and analytical.

Remember, if it walks like an orange spray-tanned, narcissistic, bullying, grifter ignoramus, if it talks like an orange spray-tanned, narcissistic, bullying, grifter ignoramus, if it tweets like an orange spray-tanned, narcissistic, bullying, grifter ignoramus, it’s probably Donald Trump and don’t let delusional apologetic conservative blow-hards with orange-tainted lips tell you any different.

Another day, Another Shitastrophe

trump, shitstorm

Franklin, Contributor

As I ponder the onslaught of political gaslighting, I’ve come to relish the memory of a gentler time when our biggest scandal was the president sporting a tan suit. Between porn stars, money laundering schemes, clandestine meetings with Russians, and living large on the taxpayer’s dime, the Trump administration can only be described as a “shitastrophe”. It began as a notably large shit show and rapidly morphed into a category 5 shitastrophe. For the linguistically curious, that’s synonymous with “clusterfuck”, but several degrees worse because it was a wholly preventable condition and one that could be eradicated immediately if Congressional conservatives would simply open their eyes.

We all understand the importance of rallying behind your party’s surprise leader, even if he is a vulgar, mean-spirited, philandering, pathologically lying ignoramus. We get the part about passing an agenda and tolerating “eccentricities”. We even get the part about how he deserves a little slack for being inexperienced in politics and governing. However, conservatives have urinated on their collective moral conscience, and traded basic accountability for idol worship, in their self-loathing, cult-like worship of Trump.

The Democrats can continue to illuminate the obvious unethical and illegal machinations of Trump and his confederacy of self-promoting shysters, but until Republicans come to some minute degree of existential epiphany, they remain happy to look the other way and recruit more delusional apologists. Every day is another day of shitastrophe that they pretend is justified, excusable, and unremarkably normal. It’s like watching a fire-breathing, live-grenade juggling chihuahua unicycling through a warehouse full of fireworks while shouting, “Nothing to see here!” in perfectly pronounced Klingon.

We are witnesses to a mob-like criminal enterprise destroying government agencies and constitutional norms for their own profit and self-aggrandizement. We are subject to an unrelenting diatribe of lies and told that the facts are contextually pliable and inherently unreliable. We are asked to make our own morality into an irrelevant emoji as an apologetic means to excuse the blatant bad behavior of our leader, who refers to all of his actions and promises in absurd, delusional superlatives.

So, now the Department of Homeland Security will track journalists and “media-influencers” to keep us safe from having to hear any criticism of America, or its Shit-Gibbon-in-Chief. Just another shovel of excrement to ensure the longevity of the shitastrophe. As if the trade war, the dismantling of environmental safety regulations, and the daily revelations of scandal just wasn’t enough corrosive crap?

As the abomination of Trump’s shitastrophe spreads, we must recognize that the only way to win this war of minds and hearts is to strenuously exercise the First Amendment. This is more than a resistance of memes, more than well-organized protest marches with creatively snarky home-made signs. This is about finding new and creative means to get galvanizing messages to the mainstream and learning innovative ways to craft narratives that inspire and unite.

Like many, I begrudgingly gave Trump a chance in the hope that the weight of presidential responsibility would temper his juvenile urges and narcissistically-driven penchant for chaos. Trump not only failed, but showed that his worst is a looming evil promise. We cannot afford a second term of Trump. We cannot be apathetic as he uses his first term to further divide us. Underestimating him would be devastating and stunningly foolish.

As I write this, Trump is sending National Guard troops to the southern border to stop an imaginary threat and to give his angry base more fuel for their racist fires. As I write this, his ex-campaign manager, Manafort, is facing hundreds of years in prison and trying to craft benign explanations for all his nefarious Russian entanglements. As I write this, the porn star Stormy Daniels, is litigating her hush money contract with Trump and his greasy attorney, Cohen. As I write this, I wonder what thing he will next deface or what vital institution he will cripple. I cringe as he smears excrement on the public trust. As I write this, I count the days until we vote again and pray we have someone to vote for, instead of against. I miss Obama in his tan suit.

Another day, another shitastrophe in the era of Trump.

We’re Watching the EPA get Neutered

trump, epa, pruitt, neuter

Jerry Waters, Contributor

Proving that it’s much easier to destroy than to create, EPA Chief Scott Pruitt has directed the agency in charge of protecting our environment to eliminate Obama-era gas mileage and emissions regulations for automakers. Maybe, next week corporations can just dump poisons in our drinking water and… oh, wait, he already did that.

Okay, so the new pro-pollution policies come after Pruitt has gutted clean water regulations and allowed corporate farms to spray produce with all sorts of horrifying insecticides and herbicides. Pruitt, like other Trump cabinet members, is on a mission to neuter to the agency he’s been tapped to lead. So, why should anyone be bothered that he’s been crashing at a condo paid for by natural gas lobbyist? What the frack, guys?

Ah, Pruitt, the asshat, who as Attorney General for Oklahoma, took money from the fossil fuel industry and sued the EPA fourteen times. Pruitt, the scholarly genius, who publicly declares that mankind’s pollution has absolutely nothing to do with global climate change. Just chew it all over with a second helping of chlorpyrifos, Pruitt’s favorite insecticide- you know, the one that’s only responsible for about 10,000 deaths a year.

Trump knew that Pruitt despised the EPA and that’s why he put him in charge of it. In fact, Trump made most of his cabinet choices ensuring they were in direct conflict with the agencies’ missions, in order to ensure that corporations could get away with figurative and literal murder.

The downright dangerous and unethical actions of Pruitt are merely symptomatic of a greater problem in the American psyche. It’s the idea that common sense regulations designed to keep businesses from ruining our environment or engaging in practices that are exploitative are somehow too onerous a burden. Conservatives continue to peddle the myth that businesses cannot be good stewards of the environment and make a profit simultaneously.

Trust me, the polluters are making obscene profits. They can afford to do the right thing, but their unquenchable greed is celebrated by many, rather than being recognized as a diagnosable obsession or a malignant evil. These observations are not an indictment of wealth or success. Instead, it’s a recognition of a corporate world that increasingly only gives lip service to ethics and puts short-term profit and shareholders ahead of everything else.

As Pruitt guts environmental regulations, we are left to hope that companies will make choices that protect us. Instead of dumping raw pollutants wherever they see fit, they’ll invest in technologies to limit their toxic waste or dispose of it in a way that doesn’t harm people or the planet. Yes, hope for that because their track records show that they’ll do just that, right? Hmmm, isn’t that why we needed the EPA and regulations in the first place?

Pruitt is also allowing our public lands to be sold or to be exploited for their natural resources. He could care less about ecosystems or habitats. His focus is pleasing the lobbying groups that fill his campaign coffers and give him under-the-table sweetheart deals. That’s why he constructed a $43,000 sound-proof and hacker-proof bunker in his EPA office- because doing the people’s business of protecting the environment, requires the utmost secrecy? Apparently, it also requires a full-time security detail and first-class flights. As head of the EPA, he sure wouldn’t want to be confused with a tree-hugger!

An oil spill happens in hours and the clean-up takes years. Air pollution doesn’t just magically disappear, nor do toxins in our drinking water. You’d think we would have learned from Superfund sites or rivers that used to catch fire. It’s going to be easy for Pruitt to destroy the decades of hard work and research that led to the EPA formulating regulations that have kept America’s polluters at bay.

Pro-business conservatives will idolize Pruitt, but the next generations, regardless of their political leanings, will suffer his polluted, soot-filled legacy as he neuters the EPA into impotence and tragic irrelevancy.