Weekly Rap-Sheet!

Since I’ve pretty much sucked at getting a Daily Gnuz out, I’m gonna use the weekend to try a Weekly Rap-Sheet.
Be at ease, no actual Rapping is scheduled, although it may break out spontaneously at any time…

And here’s the Rap Sheet for this past week.

US calls on Russia to end support for Syria after alleged chemical attack
H/T The Hill
Please, Vlad, can you not be so obvious? You’re making me look bad, so I have to pretend to scold you. No hard feelings or leaked videos, right?

And,
Orbán wins landslide to secure third straight term
H/T Politico
Hungary goes all in for Fascism. Anti-Immigration, free to pursue the vision of an “illiberal democracy,” complete with anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies, crackdowns on NGOs and strong opposition to greater EU integration.
More Trumpism, on steroids.

Finally,
How Should Progressives Respond to Trump’s Trade Tantrums?
H/T The Nation
A thoughtful treatise on what’s wrong with the global economic system and how progressives can offer viable alternaives…Good read.

Open Thread, roll it up and swat a pervert with it!

RUCerious @TPZoo

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Daily Gnuz

Evangelical Christians’ reactions/non-reactions to Charlottesville, via The Christian Post:

First, there are actually a couple of articles where pastors, etal, are finally allowing their collective conscience to break through. Here’s one, and here’s another

Of course, those voices are few, and they’ve got competition, i.e.:

Here’s an opinion piece from “guest contributor” Brad Huddleston, the title of which I thought promising, until I actually read it: “Charlottesville: Jesus Commands Us to ‘Tell The Truth’, So Why Aren’t We?” A few excerpts:

“I was in Charlottesville, Virginia, during the riots and what I observed and what I saw in the media’s coverage are, for the most part, two very different narratives.

Although the atmosphere was volatile everywhere I walked, I have to believe that it was Sovereignty that kept me away from the physical confrontations. I did, however, observe verbal ones. I saw various white supremacist groups filled with hate and evil intentions. They were armed with weapons and ready for a fight. I also watched members of Black Lives Matter as well as Communists/Marxists, carrying their hammer and sickle flags. They were also filled with hate and evil intentions.”

Sounds to me as though it wasn’t “Sovereignty” that kept him away from the physical confrontations, it was his own cowardice. So all he did was “observe” certain things, verbal interactions, certain flags, and interpret them in the light of his own prejudices [“during the RIOTS”.]  How dare he automatically credit BLM with “evil intentions”, when they were protesting against NAZIS and WHITE SUPREMACISTS! And if BLM were involved in extremely heated arguments defending their right to exist as equals in the face of horrifying insults, threats, violence, etc., who would blame them for hating everything that these armed, sometimes uniformed, Confederate-and-Nazi-flag-waving un-American RACISTS do, say, and stand for. The hammer-and-sickle flag-waving “Communists/Marxists”? The author ‘identifies’ them in a later section as the Antifa. I call bullshit. Apparently the author was so terrified he couldn’t even verify what these people were marching for/against.

“The media was slamming the various white supremacist groups (and they should). But I immediately noticed something very perplexing. Very little if any coverage was being given to the various Communist and Marxist groups and violent Black Lives Matter and Antifa activists. It was as if the white supremacists were the only ones who were filled with hate. I kept waiting and waiting for someone to show images of the reality that we, who were actually there, observed.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Let’s never forget that the Communists and Marxists have killed far more people than Hitler. Nevertheless, they are all equal in their evil, and all should be equally condemned. If they are participating in the same riot, they should share the same headline. Because white supremacists’ numbers are small, we should be far more concerned about their Marxist and their Socialist cousins. Our American universities have been cranking them out for years, and we’re now seeing the results.

Both extremes were represented in Charlottesville on that scary day. To give the extreme left a pass, and even affirm them, would make Hitler proud.”

I can’t even comment, I’m so gobsmacked by this. But I would like to ask Mr. Huddleston if any of the BLM or Antifa drove a car at speed into a crowd of human beings, killing one and injuring more than a dozen others; and how many BLM or Antifa were “ARMED WITH WEAPONS and ready to fight” as the Nazi/KKK and white supremacist pseudomilitary actually were?

And then we have conservative black pastors and others defending trump’s abhorrent remarks in “Black Christian Leaders Detest Claim That Trump Is the ‘Driver’ of Racial Division in America.” Here’s just one little slice of this twisted, surreal pie:

“Corrogan Vaughn, a political activist who ran against Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland in the 2016 election, argued that those in the media who blame Trump for the racial tension in the United States are trying to turn Trump into a “villain.”

“Don’t make our commander in chief a villain when in actuality it is more the villainess of the media in terms of making something where nothing is,” Vaughn stated.

Oh, joy, keep screaming that the “media” is to blame, and this imaginary ‘alt-left’, ffs – like who’re you gonna believe, trump and the evangelicals, or your lying eyes?

For more, here’s the Christian Post’s Political page. Have fun.

This is our Open Thread – enjoy!

August 2017: Charlottesville

In view of the recent Charlottesville VA White “Supremacist” get together and its predictable consequences — including Donald Trump’s (predictable) non-response to the disgusting tactics of a major segment of his “base” — I thought it might be appropriate to post again the substance of a New York Times editorial I first ran across (and posted here) in early March, 2015. It speaks eloquently of the undercurrents which drive events such as those last weekend in Charlottesville, undercurrents made clear in the editorial’s title, “The Danger of American Fascism.” The bottom line is a simple one; it says that when we speak of ‘movements’ including White Nationalists, White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and what’s come to be known recently as Alt-Right, we are speaking of various aspects — definitions, in fact — of Fascism.

Following are excerpts from said lengthy editorial, but which collectively summarize the essence of its thesis.

The Danger of American Fascism

“On returning from my trip to the West in February, I received a request from The New York Times to write a piece answering the following questions:

1. What is a fascist?
2. How many fascists have we?
3. How dangerous are they?

“A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends. The supreme god of a fascist, to which his ends are directed, may be money or power; may be a race or a class; may be a military clique or an economic group; or may be a culture, religion, or a political party.

[. . .]

“The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others.. . . The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.

[. . .]

“If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. . . . They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.

“American fascism will not be really dangerous until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information, and those who stand for the K.K.K. type of demagoguery.

“Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion. . . .

“The symptoms of fascist thinking are colored by environment and adapted to immediate circumstances. But always and everywhere they can be identified by their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of different groups in order to gain power. It is no coincidence that the growth of modern tyrants has in every case been heralded by the growth of prejudice. . . .

“The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy . . . to conceal their own selfish imperialism. . . .

” . . . Monopolists who fear competition and who distrust democracy because it stands for equal opportunity would like to secure their position against small and energetic enterprise. In an effort to eliminate the possibility of any rival growing up, some monopolists would sacrifice democracy itself.

[. . .]

“Democracy to crush fascism internally must . . . develop the ability to keep people fully employed and at the same time balance the budget. It must put human beings first and dollars second. It must appeal to reason and decency and not to violence and deceit. We must not tolerate oppressive government or industrial oligarchy in the form of monopolies and cartels. As long as . . . this liberal potential is properly channeled, we may expect the area of freedom of the United States to increase. The problem is to spend up our rate of social invention in the service of the welfare of all the people.

[ . . .]

“It should also be evident that exhibitions of the native brand of fascism are not confined to any single section, class or religion. Happily, it can be said that as yet fascism has not captured a predominant place in the outlook of any American section, class or religion. It may be encountered in Wall Street, Main Street or Tobacco Road. Some even suspect that they can detect incipient traces of it along the Potomac. It is an infectious disease, and we must all be on our guard against intolerance, bigotry and the pretension of invidious distinction.”

It’s interesting to note that when the author points out that “American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact; Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism; They use every opportunity to impugn democracy . . . to conceal their own selfish imperialism,” he could clearly be referring to situations that haunt the country this very day. But since the essay was originally published by the New York Times on April 9, 1944, that’s clearly not the case. It was written by then Vice President Henry A. Wallace at the request of the Times who asked him to, as Wallace noted, write a piece that answered the questions “What is a fascist? How many fascists have we? How dangerous are they?” I first ran across word of the Wallace essay in a 2004 Common Dreams article by Thom Hartmann. A google or two later, I located the complete essay entitled The Danger of American Fascism from which the excerpts above were chosen.

April 9, 1944 to August 12, 2017: Seventy-three years plus 125 days later, and the only thing that’s changed is that the situation has worsened by orders of magnitude. Back then, Franklin Roosevelt was President and Henry Wallace was Vice President. We all know where they stood. Today, Donald Trump is President and Mike Pence is V.P., and we all know where THEY stand. Today, this day, for the very first time the Fascist movement defines the electoral base of the President and his V.P. Donald Trump is and long has been, clearly, one of them, and Mike Pence forever remains too much of a wimp to admit it or point it out.

But still, the fact remains: IF America is to survive, if her goal is for “Democracy to crush fascism internally . . .” then  “It must appeal to reason and decency and not to violence and deceit. We must not tolerate oppressive government or industrial oligarchy,” but rather we must work “to spend [sic] up our rate of social invention in the service of the welfare of all the people.”

Will we as a people ever learn? Wallace was spot-on correct way back then, and his words ring even more true today than perhaps they ever have. The time has come, in other words, and that time is NOW. Donald Trump must be removed from the office of the Presidency whether by impeachment or via the 25th amendment, and the Republican Party must either recreate itself by disavowing any, each, and all of its current fascistic premises, or be disbanded entirely.

Or we could, of course, accept the Fascist alternative. Irrational hatred and fear coupled with greed and the quest for power have, after all, always worked so well as motivational memes . . . at least for those who find comfort in such nonsense.

Charlottesville residents excepted, thankfully.

Personally, I prefer that other approach, the one easily summarized in a simple slogan:

“Make America Great, For Once. DUMP TRUMP!”

TWH; May 10 2017; The Apostatic Creed

After Comey’s firing, White House openly pushes for conclusion of FBI’s Russia investigation

Gripping headline, that one. Made me think that before all this Trump Reign (Trump Rain??) is over, he may declare it mandatory that all of us “skeptics” had better switch tracks and spout our allegiance to the genius and grandeur of our new Führer, the former Orange Shitgibbon, or “It vill be da verse for you.”

So. Here it is. My effort to help each and all of Progressive mindset become the equivalent of a religious Apostate, to offer (at no charge!) the means to demonstrate abandonment and renunciation of those core beliefs, of that Democratic Credo, to substitute the pretense of embracing the contrasting stupidity of, for lack of a better word, Trumpissm.

Please understand the difficulty of the process, how hard it is to spout the pure BS demanded by illiterate ‘strongmen’ such as those who define today’s Republican Party. I know there must be the occasional faux pas embedded, but since only Progressives have the mentality to spot a faux pas in the first place, there’s no need to worry.

Good luck, and remember: this is to make HIM feel good, not you!

******

THE APOSTATIC CREED

I believe!

I believe in the Donald J. Trump!

(May, 2017)

I believe in Donald J. Trump, our almighty  Prophet  Profit who sitteth on the Throne of his Sainted Peter, aka the Throne of Amurkkka!

I believe in the Holy Ghosts of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan! I believe that their collective  dementia  wisdom persisteth through this very day and prospereth well in other equally  hollowed  hallowed minds including (but clearly not limited to) those named Pence, Ryan, McConnell, Bannon, Chaffetz, Nunes, Issa, Cruz, Sessions, DeVos, … the list of Grand Republicans is interminable!

I believe in the Holy Christer Nation called Amurkkka and in her God named Profit! I believe in the rape of the environment for our Profit’s sake! I believe in the oppression of we the people for Profit! I believe in the theft for our Profit of any and all resources public and private! I believe in the mining of wilderness, the logging-off of forests, offshore drilling, and the paving of land anywhere and everywhere when Profit is the reward! I believe in unlimited air and water pollution and in the tailpipes, smokestacks, sewer pipes, and politicians that produce same, all for our Holy Profit! I believe in our Great Profit’s future thanks to the sale of National Parks and wild lands to miners and drillers and developers! I believe that Saint Reagan’s Interior Secretary (and super-fine Republican) James Watt was spot-on correct when he said, “God gave us these things to use! After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back!” Yay!

I believe, too, in other  quasi-religious quackeries  Religious Freedoms, including Intelligent Design, the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the prohibition of Birth Control, all together with a constitutionally-mandated hatred of Homosexuals and Transgenderinos! I believe Public Education is the Work of the Debbil! and must be treated as such! I believe in Junk Science, especially when it disavows global warming or quits protecting endangered species BECAUSE: there’s a lot more Profit to be made when there are no (legal) consequences that get in the way of the process of making money!

I believe in the Wealthy and in their right to destroy all else in favor of their own comfort! I believe in WAR!! I believe in imperialism, and in the theft of needed resources from any other land on the globe! I believe it’s the Right of the Wealthy to start wars even as it’s their right to avoid fighting in them! I believe it’s the Right of the Wealthy to force the poor and the powerless to fight in their place and to die, to be permanently maimed or driven insane in the process (I mean, who really cares, you know?)! I believe it’s the Right of the Wealthy to enjoy any and all privilege and to deny all others the same through any level of chicanery, legal or illegal! I believe that The Law applies NOT to the Wealthy, only to everybody else!

I believe in massive government Power! I believe in unlimited profligate and wastrel spending, and especially in the Orwellian doublespeak lingo it takes to cover up, to mask, and to always deny the Fascistic Union of Government Power with Corporate Profit! I believe it is the duty of the masses to work always on behalf of Power and Profit for the Few! I believe that unlimited Power of the Few is necessary to promote the unlimited Power of the State both at home and around the globe! I believe that the Power of the State and the Power of the Few are one with Profit, therefore are one with God Hisseff! (He who sits atop his Sainted Peter whilst on the Throne! Damn, that felt good!)!

I believe in the Second Amendment, but not the other twenty-six! Instead, I believe that the Constitution is exactly as Donald J. Trump has said, that “It’s really a bad thing for the country”! I further believe that the constitutionality of the words “high crimes and misdemeanors” (as reasons to impeach a President) refer only to Oval Office blow jobs and have nothing to do with political malfeasance of any kind, including the (warrantless) final and total theft of all liberties and freedoms of Americans everywhere, including taking health care away from its lazy bums!

I believe in the H-Bomb and in Amurkkka’s right to use it (or threaten to) on anyone who pisses us off, especially when those who piss us off ain’t white, and/or when they look like Chinamen! I believe that spending more money on “defense” (i.e. WAR!) than the next dozen nations combined is necessary to keep Amurkkka free and to ensure forever Yuge Profits! And we’re gonna BUILD THAT WALL And keep them Spics out of Amurkkka!

I believe that “thinking” is a left-wing-liberal-pinko plot! I believe in the emergent Teabagger Fascism which requires no “thinking” at all, only obedience: Amurkkka über alles!! (to coin a phrase)! I believe in NASCAR, Christmas, Columbus, and the Super Bowl (so long as some black chick doesn’t sing and dance in front of white folks), but not in Martin Luther King and all the dirt he done! I believe that guns, “quads,” dirt bikes, snowmobiles, and even the “Minutemen” are the greatest Creations in all of history! Gifts from God The Profit! YeeHaw!

I believe! I’m a Trumpisst! I’m a REPUBLICAN, and my slogan is
as Simple as ME:

I Got Mine!! Screw Everybody Else, and . . .

Make Amurkkka Great Again!

Amen!

Whew.

******

OPEN THREAD

The Weekend Watering Hole: Friday, March 24th, 2017: FAUX Pas

On Wednesday, March 22nd, TIME Magazine’s Washington Bureau Chief, Michael Shelton, interviewed FAUX president Donald trump. I give Shelton credit, he apparently did not laugh in the FAUX president’s face (which is the least I’d like to do to trump’s face on any given day at any given minute. But I digress.)  I have to feel sorry for poor Mr. Shelton, as there was no way that any human could possibly keep up with the gibberish uttered by the “Most Embarrassing Man In The World”(TM). ‘Sad.’

The following is an except from ‘President trump’s Interview With TIME on Truth and Falsehoods.’ If you’re not dizzy by the time you’ve finished reading it, you will be if you read the entire interview. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

FAUX POTUS: “Yeah well if you’d look at, in fact I’ll give you the front page story, and just today I heard, just a little while ago, that Devin Nunes had a news conference, did you hear about this, where they have a lot of information on tapping. Did you hear about that?”

SHELTON: “I have not, no.”

FAUX POTUS: “Now remember this. When I said wiretapping, it was in quotes. Because a wiretapping is, you know today it is different than wire tapping. It is just a good description. But wiretapping was in quotes. What I’m talking about is surveillance. And today, [House Intelligence Committee Chairman] Devin Nunes just had a news conference. Now probably got obliterated by what’s happened in London. But just had a news conference, and here it is one of those things. The other one, election, I said we are going to win, we won. And many other things. And I think this is going to be very interesting.”

SHELTON: “So you don’t feel like Comey’s testimony in any way takes away from the credibility of the tweets you put out, even with the quotes?”

FAUX POTUS: “No, I have, look. I have articles saying it happened. But you have to take a look at what they, they just went out at a news conference. Devin Nunes had a news conference. I mean I don’t know, I was unable to see it, because I am at meetings, but they just had a news conference talking about surveillance. Now again, it is in quotes. That means surveillance and various other things. And the New York Times had a front-page story, which they actually reduced, they took it, they took it the word wiretapping out of the title, but its first story in the front page of the paper was wiretapping. And a lot of information has just been learned, and a lot of information may be learned over the next coming period of time. We will see what happens. Look. I predicted a lot of things that took a little of bit of time. Here, headline, for the front page of the New York Times, “Wiretapped data used in inquiry of Trump aides.” That’s a headline. Now they then dropped that headline, I never saw this until this morning. They then dropped that headline, and they used another headline without the word wiretap, but they did mean wiretap. Wiretapped data used in inquiry. Then changed after that, they probably didn’t like it. And they changed the title. They took the wiretap word out.”

Almost the last thing the FAUX president said in the interview was this:

“Hey look, in the mean time, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not.”

So…I gather from all that Nunes held a news conference, and the NY Times took out “the wiretap word”, and voila! he’s magically vindicated. Oh, and also, too, he’s the president.  Badly.  So there!

Words fail me.

This is an early edition of the Weekend Watering Hole. Have at it.

The Watering Hole, Monday, February 20th, 2017: ICYMI

A few articles from the past week:

I noticed something in one of Raw Story’s articles on Stephen Miller, and had to look into it:

“Though he denies it, Miller is believed to have written a significant portion of the travel ban, with some help from Steve Bannon and congressional aides sworn to contractual secrecy.[emphasis mine]

The Daily Mail article linked to in the above excerpt had more:

“Senior House Judiciary Committee staffers helped produce President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban, even as top lawmakers and cabinet heads were left in the dark.
The aides were required to sign nondisclosure agreements as they labored in secret to help draft the ban, Politico reported.

Trump’s transition brought in the Hill aides during the transition, while it was still rushing to staff the administration.”

And the Politico story had even more:

“The work of the committee aides began during the transition period after the election and before Donald Trump was sworn in. The staffers signed nondisclosure agreements, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Trump’s transition operation forced its staff to sign these agreements, but it would be unusual to extend that requirement to congressional employees.”

Now, wait a minute – since when do the president-elect’s staffers and congressional aides sign non-disclosure-agreements?  Aren’t any of them subjected to any vetting process, any background check, in order to work for the president-elect, or for congresspersons and congressional committees?  These are all government public servants, not trump’s TV employees!

I honestly don’t know anything about the legalities of this.  Both the Daily Mail and Politico articles are from the end of January, but I don’t remember hearing about this then. Considering that the articles also state that the congressional aides’ ‘bosses’, such as both the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairmen, were not consulted, I’m a little surprised by that.  Am I just a suspicious cynical alarmist, or is this secretive ‘reacharound’ to bypass normal procedural channels just one more example of trump’s delusional version of presidential power, one that just slipped by amidst the hundreds of other trump delusions?

(sigh)  However…

Maybe there’s hope that there may be a REAL investigation into the trump-Russia cabal. From the Raw Story article:

[T]he Senate Intelligence Committee has ordered more than a dozen individuals and agencies to preserve records related to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.

According to the Associated Press, a congressional aide confirmed that the committee had sent formal requests that all materials related to Russian meddling be preserved.

The AP notes that the letters were a bi-partisan affair with both the panel’s chairmen, Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and vice chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) signing on.

The Friday letters come on the heels of a closed door meeting with FBI Director James Comey who spent nearly three hours answering questions Friday afternoon in a secure room in the Senate basement used for classified briefings.”

Finally, some humor amidst the destruction of our world as we know it: if you didn’t catch John Oliver last night, here’s Raw Story’s thread covering it. Enjoy.

This is our Open Thread – say anything.

The Watering Hole, Monday, February 6th, 2017: Don’t Forget RUSSIA

Two recent articles to remind us that at least Senator Ron Wyden has our back when it comes to investigating Vlad the Imputin’s Russians having hacked our election for trump.

First, an excerpt from David Corn’s article at Mother Jones:

Since Trump has moved into the White House, there has been less public chatter in political and media quarters about the Russian hacking that, according to the US intelligence community, was mounted by Putin’s spies as part of an extensive clandestine operation to undermine the US presidential campaign in order to benefit Trump. The same goes for allegations that Trump or his associates interacted with Russian officials or intermediaries during the campaign. After the election, Russia’s deputy foreign minister said “there were contacts” between Trump’s team and Russian officials, and various news reports have noted that the FBI has examined connections between Trump associates and Putin-allied Russians—without offering much detail about these FBI inquiries. Yet in the first, chaos-filled weeks of the Trump presidency, the story of Russian meddling in the election—after blowing up with the disclosure that President Barack Obama and Trump were briefed about private intelligence memos alleging Russia had run a yearslong secret program to cultivate Trump and gather compromising intelligence on him—has seemed to move off the center stage.

Second, a diary by Mark Sumner at Daily Kos adds commentary to the above Mother Jones story:

“Now that the intelligence committees are supposedly on the case—and with the FBI not discussing whatever inquiries it may be holding on this front—the controversy (or scandal!) has been nudged to the back burner. This often happens in Washington: a secret investigation is launched, the story goes dark.”

“Helping cast those shadows is a press that seems to have instant amnesia about anything Russia related, to the extent that Russian forces attacking towns in Ukraine just one day after Trump and Putin had their contents unknown chat, wasn’t enough to push aside Trump’s latest tweets on television ratings. The connections between Putin and Trump, Manafort, Flynn, Page, and others in the regime seldom merits a mention.”

We HAVE to keep this investigation front and center, and demand that our Congresscritters and Senators not only support the search for the truth, but inform we, the people, of that truth, no matter the cost. This is OUR country, OUR democracy, and OUR freedom at stake. We cannot let this issue fade into the background, despite all of the distracting crap continuously popping up in the foreground. There are many fights to fight in this travesty of a presidency, but said presidency’s legitimacy is the biggest fight that we all face.

This is our Open Thread–say whatever you want.