No! “Both sides” are not to blame for the shutdown!

Republicans are doing everything they possibly can to convince a disgusted American public that Trump’s partial government shutdown is somehow the result of “both sides” failing to come to an agreement over Trump’s insane border wall.

It’s just not true.

Republicans and Democrats had come to an agreement over government spending that Trump refused to sign only after he succumbed to the influence of right-wing nut jobs like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh at the very last minute.  In fact, Trump’s legislative gimp in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, wouldn’t have allowed a vote on the legislation if Trump hadn’t already said he was going to sign it in advance. Alas, all was going well until Ann Coulter opened her moldy, hateful pie-hole.

Trump wants this shutdown because it’s an effective tool of mass distraction from the Mueller investigation- an investigation that is slowly and surely revealing the many illegal activities of the Orange Imposter and his band of money hungry, ass-kissing sycophants. Trump also knows that his racist base loves that he’s shutting down the government over a border wall because that’ll keep those bad brown-skinned hombres out. Facts don’t matter, they love the symbolism of the wall to keep out rapey, gang-member, drug-dealing, criminal, disease-carrying, every-bad-thing-you-can-possibly-imagine foreigners and don’t care if a bunch of free-loadin’, overpaid federal government workers are hurt by the shutdown.

No! Both sides are not to blame. The blame lies solely with Trump. Well, maybe a little with gimp Mitch for having no human adult gonads. Yeah, this shitstorm is all born out of Trump’s moronic tantrum. Trump can’t find a way to resolve this now because no one in either party trusts him anymore. Trump’s already walked away from other, better deals and, in fact, he’s the one who turned DACA into a huge mess in the first place. Add that to the fact that the Republicans have zero interest in solving the immigration problem because it’s such a useful tool when it comes to firing up their racist, hateful base. If you don’t believe it, just look at how Alabama Congressional mouth-breather Mo Brooks uses it whenever he needs a media jolt to remind his drooling base that he’s still a shill for all things Trumpy.

But you should be enraged by all of the inane commentary that tries to paint the shutdown situation as one in which both sides are being unreasonable. Um, no, not at all. Sorry, the Democrats have been exceedingly reasonable and generously flexible. They just know orange bullshit when they see it and they’re done negotiating with a man-toddler who revels in orange bullshit.

It’s high time that people stop being lazy in their commentary and observations regarding politics in the age of Trump.  It’s okay to assign credit and blame appropriately even if turns out to be disproportional because the facts bear that out. However, it’s terrible to continue this stupefying chant that demands a pox on “both your houses” because both sides are to blame- it’s simply not true and its damaging net effect is to increase voter apathy and/or suppress meaningful civic engagement.

Just because we ended up with reality tv president doesn’t mean we have to lower our standards or pretend that he bears any semblance to his intelligent and opposable-thumb-wielding predecessors. Trump is hopefully an anomaly, a malignant tumor on our democracy that will soon be excised if there is any divinely inspired justice in the universe.

So, let’s follow the lead of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and start telling some inconvenient truths as if we have no more fucks to give! Let’s quit saying both sides are to blame when it’s perfectly clear where the blame lies.

This is Trump’s mess and Democrats are not going to clean his shitty orange diaper- that sounds like a job for Mitch the gimp… if you can find him.

“I cannot recall”: the rapid descent into Trump’s “shithole”

trump, shithole, twentytwentynews

Clete Wetli, Contributor

When asked about Trump’s mind-numbingly racist and vulgar comments regarding immigration from “shithole” places like Haiti and Africa whilst the “stable genius” pined for more white Norwegians to come to America, repugnant Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue respectively claimed, “I cannot recall”.

Oh, the “selective memory defense” so expertly wielded by intellectual giants like Jefferson Beauregard Sessions and so many others of his ilk as they attempt to defend the indefensible.

Despite confirmation that all the other Senators present in the discussion heard Trump spew this insult, Cotton and Perdue issued a joint statement saying, “We do not recall the president saying those comments specifically but what he did call out was the imbalance in our current immigration system, which does not protect American workers and our national interest.”

They just eagerly jumped into Trump’s “shithole” gleefully joining him in defecating on statesmanship, protocol, and, most importantly, the truth.

Since the “shithole” comments became public, the airwaves have been full of hysterical right-wing pundits trying to justify Trump’s banal vulgarity and feebly denying his clear history of racist remarks. They sound disingenuous, foolish, and weary; for they know that they have sold their character and souls.

In a year’s time, Trump has done the unimaginable. He is single-handedly turning America into a “shithole” by haphazardly destroying critical environmental, financial, and educational regulations. He is widening wealth disparity with his crappy tax policy that overwhelmingly benefits the rich. He has diminished our stature on the world stage and has recklessly promoted violence and international conflict.

Every week it’s a new controversy, a new embarrassment, and a collective gasp as “the bar” plumbs new unfathomable lows. Yeah, right after “shithole-gate”, the latest news is that Trump’s personal lawyer paid out $130,000 in hush money to a porn star so that she wouldn’t go public about her sexual encounters that presumably ended in a Trump hump.

(Don’t feel bad, I got just as queasy as you did.)

There’s no greater joy today in America than sitting down at the kitchen table with your young children having to explain the meaning of “shitholes” and porn stars simply because they came in the room while you happened to be watching the evening news.

It has become simultaneously exhausting and enraging to write about Trump’s efforts to turn America into a “shithole”, while he and his wealthy sycophants find more ways to line their own pockets at the expense of everyone else.  Of course, the Trumpian wealthy are willing partners because they cannot smell the putrid shit from the lofty heights of their gaudy, gilded-towers.

Somehow, he has turned conservatives and Republicans into craven, willing ball-gagged gimps who purposely overlook his abuses, incompetence, misogyny, racism, and pathological selfishness.

Indeed, a year of Trump has been a spectacular shit show and the “shithole” he has created is about to overflow. Democrats will have to strongly unite, find their best shit shovel, and show up to the polls. Republicans, the ones with any decency or dignity left, will have to stand against the monster they created. Otherwise, Trump’s shit will just keep getting deeper and spread even farther.

Things are at a point now where I cannot tolerate Trump supporters. It’s not so much their warped political agenda, but blindly supporting Trump says much about their character, their capacity for cognitive dissonance, and their festering hatred for “others”.

So, Cotton and Perdue claim “they cannot recall” any sort of shit that may have hit the proverbial fan.  They are happy to be on the front lines of Trump’s “shithole” construction project that will rapidly turn America into the land of “haves and have-nots”.

We must remove Trump. He cannot be wished away, or as the saying goes, “wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up quicker.”

During Harvey some think price gouging OK

price, gouging, hurricane, harvey

 

Clete Wetli, Contributor

In Trumplandia, the lack of ethics, basic morality, common decency, and social norms have become a sad, new status quo. Yet, I had to look twice when I saw an article in Forbes that genuinely advocated and promoted price gouging during an historic natural disaster. Yeah, you heard that right.

Here’s the link to the piece written by Tim Worstall, a Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2017/08/27/hurricane-harvey-is-when-we-need-price-gouging-not-laws-against-it/#1d89826913fa

Basically, Worstall argues that price-gougers should be thanked rather than punished because the law of supply demand is helped when scarce resources are allocated to “more valuable uses”. In this case, Worstall contends the person that can afford $99 for a case of water in Houston is a “more valuable use” of that water than the person who dies of thirst because they only have $50. Of course, Mr. Worstall, what were we dumb liberals thinking? Certainly, people with more money are way more valuable than useless poor people.

Oh, he’s not done. Worstall ends his linguistic fellatio of unfettered capitalism by positing this brilliant gem, “Price gouging is the market’s get out of jail free card in the wake of a disaster, bringing supply and demand into accord–yet we try our damnedest to imprison people for employing our most effective tool. We really need to change the laws here.”

I know! I had to walk away from it a minute and let an insane torrent of profanity loose before I could address Worstall’s privileged, fraudulent syllogism and vulgar rationalization of human exploitation and unbridled greed.

The obvious counter to Worstall’s argument is that regardless of whatever economic theory he espouses at the ivory tower of Adam Smith Institute; he is a subhuman piece of shit with no moral compass or an iota of compassion if he thinks that it’s ok to deny people aid during a disaster because they can’t afford it. Perhaps, the only human being that might be worse would be Trump who allowed the Border Patrol to remain open during the hurricane evacuation in hopes of catching illegal immigrants that were fleeing for their lives. This is the butt-ugly truth behind the conservative love affair of the “free market”.

It’s in Worstall’s piece that you can plainly see how this embrace of unfettered and unregulated capitalism is foundational to the racism, the sexism, and the vilification of poverty that entwines modern conservative ideology and policy.

This is why Republicans voted against relief funding for Hurricane Sandy and it’s why the relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina were insufficient. Conservatives are terrified that someone may get something for nothing or that someone they deem undeserving may get a benefit. This sick way of thinking goes beyond price-gouging advocacy or offset funding for disaster relief, it even shows up in stupid ways like demanding drug testing for food stamp recipients.

I’m a liberal because I’m a decent human being that cares about others. Scumbags like Tim Worstall are why I’m a loud activist that will fight to his dying day to keep people like him from inflicting damage on the world. There’s no good argument for price-gouging. There’s not a place on this earth or any imaginable situation in which profiting off the suffering of others is morally acceptable.

In the era of Trump, we’ve got to stand against this type of bullshit. This is the kind of garbage that fuels the white supremacists and other mental midgets that seek justification for their prejudice, xenophobia, and avarice.

Mr. Worstall, I don’t know you, but what you wrote appeals only to the extreme worst of human nature. Because of morally bankrupt assholes like you, we’re stuck with a President that’s the epitome of whoring selfishness.

Heather Hyer Magnified

Clete Wetli, Contributor

I only know you from the picture I saw on the news. The only things I’ve learned about you are from the tearful words of your friends and co-workers and your family who feel the indescribable pain of knowing they’ll never hear your laugh again or see you passionately standing up for your beliefs.

On social media you put up a quote, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

I promise you, Heather, I’ve been paying attention for a very long time. Like you, I am also outraged and I know you would agree that outrage is meaningless without taking purposeful action.

You took action and your life has been magnified.

Like you, I’ve tried to make a positive difference. Sometimes, it’s a thing I do to help someone that nobody else knows about and sometimes I’m that guy at a protest holding a sign. Sometimes, I write and I lay awake wondering if anyone was ever moved by words.

I’m a bit older than you and, I must confess that there are also times when I feel like all the words I write, all the speeches I give, all the protests, all the righteous conflict, and all the unseen work is un-noticed, unappreciated, or ineffectual. I vacillate between outrage-fueled activity and weary, dutiful resistance.

There are times when my light flickers and dims.

But, Heather, somehow your light has magnified mine in the most powerful way. I think that’s some secret I stumbled upon about how all this mystical stuff works. I learned about you and mourned your passing and watched your memorial and I became stronger. I told my young daughter about you and explained to her the deep and historic significance of the few sparse things I knew about your life. She’s a lot like you because she cares passionately and stands firmly for her beliefs.

Her young eyes are the twin of yours. Eyes that notice oppression, eyes that spark in the face of cruelty, that deeply feel the pain of others, eyes that strongly focus with a steadfast determination to see the promise of justice.

Heather, I’m just a middle-aged Jewish guy that lives in Alabama and endures the constant scorn of self-righteous evangelicals who mock my love for social justice and the promise of equality actualized. Yet, I’m writing this because I know somehow that you’re listening and I think it’s important for you to know how many lives you have affected. I want you to know that your light is magnified and it that will continue to grow brighter and stronger.

I heard those sickening chants and I saw the ignorant hatred. I saw their ridiculous Tiki torches and I saw them with their shields and assault rifles. I watched you stand up to their senseless bigotry and I saw the terrifying moment that your soul left this earth. Heather, you need to know that I and millions of others paid attention.

Your mother said at your memorial, “They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, they just magnified her.”  Heather, I can tell you that you have magnified my resolve to keep fighting and I hope that I can magnify your legacy by telling others about your courage, your strength, and your deep commitment to helping your fellow man.

Heather, I just want you to know that standing up was worth it and that I won’t forget. I’ll teach my children and they will take your light and it will be magnified again and again and again.

Heather Heyer, I never knew you, but I promise that I will magnify you and everything you stood for.

 

The fire and fury of dumpster politics

dumpster, fire, trump

Clete Wetli, Contributor

The anachronism of statesmanship has all but vanished in modern politics and America has definitively ushered in the age dumpster politics. Indeed, Trump has kept his promise to take a wrecking ball to political institutions, traditional establishments, and civility and he has thrown all of the pieces into a huge political dumpster. His sycophants and media minions have been all too happy to light the fire and watch the fury.

In an instant, Trump has scorched the remnants of statesmanship. He has irreparably burned our long-held alliances. He has lit an inferno of hatred toward truth and science. The dumpster fire is blazing out of control and America is mesmerized by the flames.

Trump has threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” because he impulsively thinks diplomacy to thwart the potential of nuclear war is just more trash that can be thrown into the political dumpster.

“Look, nuclear should be off the table. But would there be a time when it could be used, possibly, possibly?”

He’s added fuel by denying climate change, reinvigorating the worst policies in the failed War on Drugs, and laying waste to government oversight that he likes to call “unnecessary regulations.” The Republicans have no interest in building anything as they continue to turn the best of our government into kindling for the dumpster.

His cabinet is nothing more than a demolition team intent on tearing down what has taken centuries to build. Looks like someone just threw a copy of the Lincoln-Douglas debates into the fire because in dumpster politics; debates aren’t about reasoned arguments or discussing substantive issues, they’re about one-liners and sarcastic burns.

Dumpster politics is about wanton destruction and the demonstrative disrespect inherent in discarding what was once revered and sacred. Things like telling the truth or welcoming people who are downtrodden and seeking a new life. Things like civil rights. Things like education. Of course, things like helping the elderly, poor, and sick.

“I love the poorly educated”

Dumpster politics is the rancid amalgam of apathy, cynicism, and ignorance forged in hot, meaningless sound-bites and tempered by selfish greed and unbelievable cognitive dissonance. With dumpster politics, you get a red ball cap with a slogan whose history has been newly repurposed to identify the wearer as a proud and spiteful bully.

You don’t have to mind your manners around the dumpster fire. It’s fun to watch it all burn, it’s smugly satisfying to watch the valuables of people you dislike turn to ember and ash. Remember, they forced you to let women vote, to let gays marry, to let blacks ride the bus, to let the poor get educated, to let people worship the god of their choice- they brought in all the welfare and entitlement and affirmative action- of course, they had this coming. Dumpster politics just killed identity politics. Dumpster politics is a reckoning.

Dumpster politics is about more finding things to add to the fire. Racism is gasoline. Wealth disparity is kerosene. Sexism is a Molotov cocktail.

“What the hell have you got to lose?”

With Trump, dumpster politics is our new normal in the same way that we apathetically accepted reality television as entertainment and “alternative facts” as universal truths because they simplistically confirm our most deeply held biases.

As long as we collectively trash our values and defecate on our decency, dumpster politics will flourish. It’s easy to destroy things without thinking about the consequences. Fires are exciting until all the fuel is spent. Building things takes so much time and effort.

“Lock her up!”

“And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Whatever you want. Grab them by the pussy.”

“They will be met with fire and fury the world has never seen.”

Dumpster politics is here to stay, “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.”

Who said women can’t Google?

google, women, misogeny

Clete Wetli, Contributor

Recently, a Google employee released an anti-diversity misogynistic manifesto that would have made other notable manifesto authors, like Ted Kaczynski and Karl Marx, ever so proud. They’d be proud because it follows the tradition of other bat-shit crazy manifestos in that it’s a phenomenal, but delusional, syllogism that attempts to justify institutional oppression and marginalization. It’s the same line of warped reasoning that Francis Galton used to promote eugenics.

The funniest part of this clown’s ten-page tirade is that he feels that conservatives are being alienated and that, “(they) feel like they need to stay in the closet to avoid open hostility.” Well, that’s definitely an interesting choice of words considering how most conservatives feel about staying in the closet! Frankly, this asshole obviously hasn’t paid attention to any of the things that conservatives have tried to do that harm women. Things like blocking measures to eliminate the gender pay gap, restricting abortion rights, limiting access to women’s healthcare for the poor, and fighting against childcare subsidies. In fact, I’ll bet his conservative take on sexual assault probably can be distilled into, “that wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t been drinking and wearing that mini-skirt.”

Our white-privileged male genius goes on to say, “Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, which is require for much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company.” First, I’m gonna have to really question this statement about conscientiousness because his grammar sucks. Second, maybe people who feel that women and minorities are second-class citizens ought to feel a bit alienated. Perhaps, they should spend that time, whilst alienated, to reflect on their worldview that normalizes prejudice, bigotry, and oppression. Perhaps, forget about reaching a higher level of conscientiousness and, instead, work toward attaining a higher level of conscience.

This is just one more example of how rampant sexism is alive and well in Silicon Valley. The sad part is that it’s going to get worse before it gets better under the knuckle-dragging leadership of our Pussy Grabber-In-Chief and “no one loves the women like me” President Donald Trump.

So, we’re real sorry that this white guy at Google is feeling so oppressed because of diversity. We’re all broken up about how he feels attacked when he voices his racist and misogynistic views. In fact, the tears are flooding out as we try to feel his pain. Oh, wait, he said don’t do that because he also wrote in his brilliant manifesto that, “I’ve heard several calls for increased empathy on diversity issues. While I strongly support trying to understand how and why people think the way they do, relying on affective empathy—feeling another’s pain—causes us to focus on anecdotes, favor individuals similar to us, and harbor other irrational and dangerous biases. Being emotionally unengaged helps us better reason about the facts.”

Seriously? Well, let’s see if we can parse some of these “facts” in an “emotionally unengaged” way…

Like the fact that you’re an entitled asshole that feels threatened by high-achieving women in your workplace even though you make more doing the same job? Like the fact that you’re all upset because you feel excluded from programs designed specifically for women and think it’s some sort of reverse discrimination? Like the fact that you think trying to put diversity into a cost/benefit model will make people think you’re less prejudiced or misogynistic?

Oy vey! Look, Mr. Faux Victim of Diversity, women have every right to be software engineers at Google and get the same pay for the same job. Also, if Google wants to promote diversity in the workplace because it’s the right thing to do, you have every right to whine, but you may want to do a little introspection regarding your own masculine insecurities.

In the future, don’t waste our valuable time trying to rationalize your misogyny and prejudices. Maybe, if you’d spend more time actually focused on your job instead of writing stupid, poorly written manifestos, they just might have promoted you instead of the woman in the cubicle next door.

Privileged white folks finally get a champion

Clete Wetli, Contributor

After all the racist comments and innuendo uttered by Trump and his surrogates, there are still some people who refuse to believe that this administration is hostile to minorities or that it is actively pursuing an agenda to undermine civil rights. These folks just think that Trump is rightfully tired of “political correctness” and that he understands that certain groups, meaning everyone who isn’t white or a cisgender heterosexual male, want “special rights and privileges” that they just don’t deserve.

Privileged white folks have been whining about the horrors of reverse discrimination ever since the term ‘affirmative action’ was coined. So, the Trump administration plans to use a proven successful formula recently employed by Congress wherein a bunch of exclusively rich white old men will meet in secret to concoct a plan that will affect everyone but them. Instead of healthcare, this time it’s the Justice Department finding a way to sue universities for policies that they deem are examples of “reverse discrimination”.  You know, things like minority and women’s scholarships, cultural groups, and promoting diversity in enrollment.

Privileged white folks who’ve been so tragically hurt by having to look at black people in their classrooms finally have a champion named Jefferson Beauregard Sessions! He plans to circumvent all the career people in the Civil Right Division of the DOJ and outsource this purge of diversity to a special team of lawyers who will aggressively ensure that not one white kid will suffer the horrible indignities of educational diversity.

Trump is already making America great again by promising to be a champion for the LBGT community, but then banning transgender people from serving in the military as soon as he could through a tweet. It’s just so great, right?

In the spirit of our privileged white Education Secretary and champion of elite private schools, Betsy DeVos, who said, “HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice”, Trump wants to make sure that underprivileged minorities can choose lesser educational options or maybe just try something different altogether.

Clearly, Trump isn’t a racist because he did hire a black guy to oversee the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Trump chose him because he was so highly qualified for the position with all of his ground-breaking research on the Great Pyramids being used as grain silos. Of course, it wasn’t tokenism; just like this initiative will only ensure that white kids can shrug off the institutional oppression that’s held them back for so long. Of course, Sessions isn’t a racist either because he did do some work on a KKK case decades ago. Trump and Sessions believe that if you don’t talk about racism, it will disappear and America can go back to all its former greatness when things were equal, but, you know, separate.

This is all part of Trump’s plan to get rid of pesky burdensome regulations. Whether it’s gutting the EPA so we can build an expensive, useless border wall or circumventing civil rights protections, Trump wants to make sure privileged white folks maintain every ounce of privilege they’ve been given. That their collegiate experience will be the very whitest and to make sure they can say “Merry Christmas” without those highly awkward conversations about Kwanza or Chanukah.

For Trump, he’s shown that he’s willing to sacrifice by having to live in that “dump”, the White House, and by limiting his VIP golf outings to only four times a month. Surely, he’s fighting for a day when his young son can go to an elite private school and not have to worry about seeing people that don’t look exactly like him. For Trump and his rich white friends, the oppression against Caucasians is real.

Privileged white folks can rest easy now because Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again”, seems to really reflect his desire to make America white again. Just wait until he gets ahold of voter registration and the election process…

How long will the GOP make excuses for Trump?

Clete Wetli, Contributor

The bizarre behavior of the GOP conjures images of victims involved in an abusive relationship because no matter how many times he humiliates them, or worse, they get a black eye, they make excuses, continue the relationship, and promise to try to change to appease their abuser.  It doesn’t matter if it’s bullying tweets, Access Hollywood “pussy grabbing” tapes, shady financial deals, threatening to take away healthcare subsidies from the poor, denigrating public officials, blatant nepotism- the excuses and mind-twisting justifications continue without fail.

Trump, in his perpetual delusions of grandeur, continues to brag as if his agenda is effective and somehow getting implemented. Of course, we’re happy that he’s incredibly myopic and incompetent because the alternative would be America rapidly transitioning into a third-world banana republic.

The GOP thought he would change once he got into office. They thought he really didn’t mean all those insults he’s hurled blindly in every direction. He said he’d be the most presidential, that we’d be tired of winning, and that his secret plan to defeat ISIS would be implemented in his first month. But, the GOP still loves him because he didn’t really mean to hurt them… He’s just so frustrated and so misunderstood!

He’s been draining the swamp, right?  He’s gotten rid of all those pesky environmental regulations that have been strangling the coal industry and you can see coal is making a yuuge comeback, right?

He’s been so pro-LGBT and so pro-women, right? He’s already got his first check from Mexico on their partnership to build the big, super-necessary, beautiful wall, right?

He’s definitely got the best people, right? Folks like Sessions, who want to take us back to the height of our failed War on Drugs, are just doing an amazing job, well, if you don’t mind having all your money taken by the police the next time you get pulled over for a minor traffic violation because you were driving while black.

Quality people like Scaramucci, who wanted to serve his country so bad, he can easily be excused for missing the birth of his child and his profane outbursts, right? Well, we just learned he gave us the very best of eleven days. It’s the same for DeVos and Pruett because they’re just so overwhelmed by the opportunity to serve, right? Sadly, we seem stuck with these folks for quite a bit longer.

When Trump recently referred to his cabinet room as the boardroom, it’s just because he’s got a lot on his mind. It’s why he tweets major military policy changes… he’s just getting used to the politics thing. That’s why he golfs so much at his own properties at taxpayer expense, it’s the stress of being the most presidential and all that winning.

The healthcare failure wasn’t his fault. Nothing is his fault. So, he and his campaign had a lot of undisclosed contacts with the Russians and they made a bunch of money off the Russians in the past. Big deal, just a distraction. Not his fault, there are lots of excuses, lots of rationalizations that make so much sense, big league.

Why should we expect the GOP to hold Trump accountable when they can’t come up with a workable alternative to Obamacare after seven years?  The GOP is used to making excuses. It wasn’t all their tax cuts in Kansas that imploded the state government… surely, it was somehow Obama’s fault, or illegal immigrants, or maybe even those clean energy hippies. The GOP will keep making excuses for Trump because they had to make so many already to vote for him in the first place.  They made excuses and walked away from all they had once held sacred because all they ever wanted was power.

Don’t worry GOP, he didn’t mean to hurt you and says that he loves you. Maybe, you shouldn’t have worn that dress, maybe you should have remembered that he always gets two scoops of ice cream, and maybe if you just learned to keep your mouth shut he wouldn’t slap you so hard.

Now, you better run along GOP and find a way to get Mexico to pay for that wall or you’ll get what’s coming to you… Remember, he like to punch back ten times harder…

Alabama Democrats: “Summer of Revival” or another “Summer of Denial”?

Clete Wetli, Contributor

As an active, life-long, and proud Democrat living in Alabama, there’s no easy way to say this, but folks, we are seriously getting our asses kicked. Yeah, I know the history of how it happened and how the hatred of Obama, Pelosi, and all things liberal keep the GOP momentum going like the plague in the Dark Ages- but, it seems like we’re not doing our very best to stop the unrelenting red carnage.

Oh, you think it’s the “Summer of Revival” for Democrats in Alabama?

Just take a second and look at the Alabama Democratic Party website and click on all the headers. Spend a few minutes and just look the whole thing over with some scrutiny. Now you may need an adult beverage before you take this next step, but now, pull up the Alabama Republican Party website. Hmmm.  So, put your politics aside for a second and ask yourself which site looks better and ask yourself who is communicating an effective message.

Alright, maybe you really need two adult beverages after looking at all that! Look, I’m not trying to be inflammatory or just stir things up for no reason here, but this is shameful and it’s easily fixable. Alabama Democrats just have to find the collective will to make it happen.

Unfortunately, this “Summer of Revival” appears to be another “Summer of Denial” where we don’t hold our State Party leadership accountable for presenting a compelling and concise message that makes Alabama voters want to enthusiastically vote for Democratic candidates. The widespread denial isn’t even really the worst part. The worst part is the tepid and implicit apology lingering in the narrative that somehow this is our best effort and that we’re comfortable accepting our impending defeat because we’re outnumbered and outgunned.

Democrats across the state have spent the last few years protesting every embarrassing and regressive policy and law that has been supported by the Republicans. That’s ok I suppose, but it’s been largely ineffectual. Sadly, the one place where we should be protesting, and possibly getting arrested for disturbing the peace, is in front of the next State Executive Committee demanding the resignations of Worley and Reed. Well, unless you’re still in denial that we even have a problem or like making apologies for their obvious lack of leadership.

The tragedy is that no one is screaming, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Instead, it’s a very civil and patient acknowledgement of incompetence that leads to the scheduling of another meeting to patiently and civilly acknowledge more incompetence. In between these meetings, there’s likely a march or protest you can attend that will help you feel like you’re making a difference while you preach to the faithful.

I have to admit that I got a little excited when I first heard of this “Summer of Revival” coming to the Alabama Democrats, even if the religious reference made me gag a little. But since the announcement, there’s been no noise, no media, no feeling of renewed energy, and it all seems like another dying gasp for relevance.

The truth is that before we can become competitive again, we’ve got to get our act together. We can’t win trying to be Republican-lite and we can’t win accepting incompetent or mediocre leadership. We’ve got be clear about what we stand for and why.

What the hell is the message? Why is it not on the website and on bumper stickers in every county?

Folks, this is a fight for our survival and it’s high time that we get enraged and engaged. If this is truly the “Summer of Revival”, then what is it exactly that we’re reviving?

Maybe, what we need is some anger and a renewed commitment to the core values that made us the Party of the People in the first place. No more excuses, no more apologies, no more denial.

Opioid addiction is a US epidemic

Jerry Waters, Contributor

Now that it’s finally reached headline-grabbing epidemic proportions, Blue Cross Blue Shield just released an eyebrow raising report that opioid addiction has increased 494% from 2010 to 2016, yet medication-assisted treatment for opioid addicts has only increased by 65%.  Worse, the Republican healthcare bill doesn’t seem to be addressing this as any type of a health crisis. And if that wasn’t horrifying enough, many judges across the nation refuse to accept medication-assisted treatment such as methadone or suboxone as legitimate substance abuse treatment. They demand abstinence-only treatment and continue to impose harsher sentences on addicts who relapse.

Ironically, the very hallmark of addiction is relapse. Let that sink in just a moment.

Admittedly, the judges do have a point that many methadone clinics are profit driven and there isn’t enough emphasis on titrating addicts off medication, but that’s something that can be fixed with sensible regulations. The bigger problem is that many judges just don’t understand medication-assisted treatment and think that either the addicts are getting a legal high, or that they just lack the will power to stop on their own. Also, there’s a difference between someone who is an opioid addict and someone who uses medication-assisted treatment for legitimate, chronic pain management. When it comes to these stark distinctions, it’s time for the judiciary to catch up.

If we go back to the time before Obamacare and we allow insurers to be able to pick and choose what they think are essential benefits in a healthcare plan, substance abuse treatment will be surely one of the first things to get cut. This will hurt the people who need treatment the most.

Sadly, doctors are still being incentivized by Big Pharma to write opioid prescriptions like they’re going out of style. Further, they’re not actively checking patients to ensure that they are not becoming addicted to the medication they’ve prescribed.

We live in an un-nuanced chiaroscuro culture where we love to criminalize and penalize the addict, but refuse to hold the people who write the prescriptions responsible unless their actions are so greedy or grotesque that someone finally takes notice.

Insurers shouldn’t be determining the parameters, modality, or qualifications for substance abuse treatment. They have a conflict of interest that’s worse than a monkey trying to sell bananas. Besides, weren’t these the geniuses who came up with the 28-day Minnesota treatment model because it fit neatly into their billing cycle? It’s taken decades and mountains of research to debunk their arbitrary treatment model, but it’s still going strong in many parts of the country.

Culturally, we seem obsessed with one-size-fits-all solutions. Maybe we can get our legislators to explain the difference between an opioid addict, a methamphetamine addict, a cocaine addict, and an alcoholic.  We’d love to hear their take on co-occurring disorders and even though they haven’t the first clue, they’re happy to write legislation about these things. They’re more than happy to let people with strong profit motives, like insurers and drug companies, tell them what addicts need to get sober.

The opioid epidemic is real and it wasn’t caused by a bunch of middle-aged folks who went to doctors drug-seeking. This was caused by the profit motivations of doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical giants. This was caused by a still broken healthcare system that focuses on illness instead of wellness and pathology over prevention.

It’s time for people across the country to take a deep breath and reflect on the failed War on Drugs. It’s time to put people first again and not be so quick to put them in jail because they have an addiction problem.

Maybe, we can switch from saying “Just say no!” to “We can help you recover”.