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Who Could Stop Trump From Almost Doing Something Decent? Worst Person Alive Mitch McConnell, That's Who!

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There was a theory some silly people had that Donald Trump might do a few things as president that weren't fundamentally evil. Maybe he'd pass an infrastructure bill or do something regarding infrastructure or who knows, maybe really move forward on infrastructure. But no, Trump has mostly operated like a cartoon villain, and not even a somewhat complex villain like Venger from "Dungeons and Dragons." No, he's more like Verminous Skumm from "Captain Planet."

Yet, there was some hope for the prospect of much-needed criminal justice reform. Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner had a personal connection to the matter because of his father's experience in prison and his own possible future in Club Fed. Kushner advocated strongly for the "First Step Act," a measure that gained bipartisan support in Congress. Trump himself even announced his support for the prison and sentencing overhaul bill in November. Now all that's left is posing for selfies at the signing ceremony, right?

Not exactly. When dealing with Republicans, gaining "bipartisan support" for morally positive legislation can mean watering down its effectiveness. You could try to pass a "Free Food For Legless Orphans" measure and you'd have to agree to one out of every five cans of Spam being poisoned to get even moderate Republicans on board. The rest would insist on four poisoned cans out of five with the fifth can actually being a rock.


It's telling how bad our current system is that even after Republicans peed in the legislative pool, the "First Step Act" still contains some reasonable reforms. For example, it ensures people are placed in facilities within 500 driving miles from their families. It also bans the shackling of pregnant and postpartum women, because... oh sweet Christ, why were we doing this at all? You can read the full bill here.

There is reasonable criticism that the bill doesn't go far enough, but in fairness, it's called "First Step" not "Final Step" so it's clearly open to improvement. Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton is a vocal opponent of the bill for every possible sinister reason you could imagine. He once argued that we have an "under-incarceration" problem because he's a villain from Les Miserables but without the singing. He recently went around insisting that "First Step" is so flawed it would release an army of Willie Hortons onto an unsuspecting populace.

The House passed the "First Step Act" in May by a 360 to 59 vote. It's since languished in the Senate, which was busy stacking the courts with right-wing zealots and credibly accused rapists. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell mostly just ignored it like he does the faded remnants of his conscience. Now he claims there's not enough to time to do anything in the remaining lame-duck session.

"Each passing day they get less," said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) of the bill's chances. "We're still lobbying Sen. McConnell. He has all the power to allow it or not allow it."

"The people who hate the bill are having their way," said another Republican senator. "Inaction is a lot easier than action around here."

Yeesh, cheer up guys! I know most of you secretly wish you could spend your days next year with Beto O'Rourke instead of Ted Cruz but you sound like you work at Leo Bloom's accounting firm in The Producers.

Many liberals dwell in a fantasy world where conservatives are eager to find common ground on issues that have mutual benefit to non-corporate entities. Someone even suggested that "public pressure" would force Republicans to pass a Medicare for All and Free Unicorns bill. We aren't even supposed to yell at Republicans in restaurants or protest where they work. Scrooge needed the scary-ass Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come to make him wet his pants before he got his act together. Some woke tweets and op-eds wouldn't have budged the needle.

Even fellow Evil-American Chuck Grassley is annoyed with McConnell. Grassley feels like he delivered on Trump's judicial nominees, many of whom were divisive, but now McConnell won't move on "First Step," which he argues is divisive. Maybe McConnell is just a crawling smear of slime.

For months, Mr. McConnell had assured reformers that, if a bill emerged with the support of at least 60 members, he would bring it up for a vote. But no sooner had Mr. Trump finished praising the First Step Act than Mr. McConnell began weaseling out of his pledge, clucking about all the pressing business the Senate faced and how there most likely wouldn't be time to tackle this issue after all.

Grassley probably right assumes the bill has support from 60 senators, but McConnell only counts Republicans. He just considers Senate Democrats furniture that nevertheless persists in speaking. McConnell's "deal" was already jacked up because if he applied that standard to Supreme Court justices or Cabinet positions, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and DeVos would not have their current jobs. Meanwhile, Cotton and Texas Senator John Cornyn insist "First Step" doesn't have the support Grassley thinks it does. Cotton goes so far as to suggest senators are just making up stories to keep the old man happy: "Yeah, we're totally yes votes. And sure, your Grandma Hester is still alive and will make that fruit cake for Christmas you like."

There's no way "First Step" passes, at least in its current form, next year with a Democrat-controlled House. It would either emerge too liberal to get traction from a larger Republican Senate majority or Trump himself might withdraw support because Nancy Pelosi's cooties would be all over it. McConnell knows this. Criminal justice reform isn't a priority of his. He's reportedly "a Jeff Sessions-style, lock-them-up-and-throw-away-the-key kind of guy." I guess he's also pro-shackling pregnant women.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Seattle. However, he's more reliable for food and drink recommendations in Portland, where he spends a lot of time for theatre work.

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OOH BOY HOWDY, The Federalist is on fire this week! Just this morning we told you about the hilarious Federalist column where one neo-Nazi's mom and dad are Democrats, ipso facto QED NEO-NAZIS ARE THE REAL LIBERALS, FUCKERS! Is America's dumbest woman whose name doesn't rhyme with Cara Snailin' over there being a total fuckin' Mollie Hemingway right now? Sadly, she blocked us on Twitter, so how could we possibly know? The answer is WE DON'T CARE.

But now we have a gem of the Federalist genre, an article written by a whiny-ass gay quisling conservative, who would like to chew on his blankie and whine about how much harder it is out there for a conservative than it is for a gay person. This is a subject we happen to have some knowledge about, because we are super gay! And we know a lot about conservatives, both firsthand -- being subjected to them every single one of our almost four decades of life -- and also from covering extremist right-wing Christians for a very long time. Particularly the kind that tell young, impressionable, vulnerable gay kids that they need to pray away the gay if they want Jesus to exercise some self control and refrain from sending them to a fiery hell for all eternity.

We clicked on the article with high hopes. See if you can spot why:

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pic via Glamour Shots, we mean this dude's old website

The House Education and Workforce Committee was all set to have a hearing today all about the horrors that a higher minimum wage would wreak on the economy. Horrors like rich people being slightly less rich. Horrors like business owners claiming they will have to fire people and charge $15 for a McChicken if forced to pay workers a living wage, which they won't actually do because no one will buy a $15 McChicken and they would go out of business if they tried that, and they already don't hire more people than the bare minimum they can get away with. Horrors like poor people not being "motivated" to work harder and get better jobs that do not pay them an amount no human being could possibly live on.

Alas, as Politico reports, it was not to be, as committee members discovered their big witness for the hearing, San Diego State University economist Joseph Sabia (pictured above in a Glamour Shot from his archived website), was kind of a wacko.

Sabia, as it turns out, once had a blog called "No Shades Of Gray," in which he wrote many columns of an extremely homophobic and sexist persuasion. In one of these columns, in 2002, Sabia was very mad about one man's lawsuit against several fast food giants for contributing to his health and obesity problems by failing to disclose the nutritional information of the food they sold. In retrospect, I think most people are now on board with these chains being required to post calorie counts and other nutritional information, but in 2002, Sabia was convinced that requiring them to do this would be an assault on freedom for all Americans everywhere. His response to this was to try and attempt a Jonathan Swift posture and suggest taxing gay sex, which he claimed leads to "disastrous health consequences."

Because sure, that's the same thing, basically.


In gay sex, we have an activity that is clearly leading to disastrous health consequences. What rational person would engage in this sort of activity? There is only one solution - let's tax it.

"Come on, Sabia," you say, "how are you going to enforce these taxes? Are you going to send government officials to peep into everyone's bedroom?"

Eventually. But first we have to mount the assault on Big Gay (no, I am not talking about Rosie O'Donnell). We can tax gay nightclubs, websites, personal ads, sexual paraphernalia, and so forth. Talk about a sin tax!!! We can cripple gay-related industries and get them right where we want them. All gay clubs will have to feature huge, flashing warning signs like "CAUTION: Entering this nightclub may increase your chance of contracting STDs and dying."

Big Gay clearly lures people into trying their "product" without discussing the risks to mind, body, and soul. The average Joe on the street does not understand all of the possible bad outcomes. I can almost hear him now:

"They said '100 percent hotties.' I thought that meant it was fun. I thought gay sex was OK…Now I have all these diseases. Big Gay has wrecked my life."

In the immoral words of Warren G, "Regulators!! Mount up!"

EXTREME SHUDDER.

In another 2002 article, classily titled "College Girls: Unpaid Whores," Sabia laments that feminists have led college girls to stop trying to be like the Holy Virgin Mary and instead to aspire to be more like that hussy Ally McBeal.

No, really.

As women have strayed from the church, they have replaced what is holy with what is temporally pleasing. For Catholics, the model woman is Mary, the virgin Mother of God. She is beloved by the faithful for her unflappable devotion to and trust in God, her nurturing of the Son of Man, and her deep love for all humanity.

Today's college girl looks to Ally McBeal, the trollops of Sex in the City, and the floozies on Friends to set their moral compasses.

The sad truth is that college girls are so desperate to find love that they are willing to degrade themselves to get it. But true love can only be understood in the context of the Word of God. Any other notion of "love" is secular and, by definition, limited and finite.

Not only that, but instead of going to college to find a husband, they have boyfriends. Boyfriends they have S-E-X with. And sometimes, not even that. Sometimes they have sex with people just because they want to have sex with people, and not even in exchange for Valentine's Day cards or money!


Additionally, other sex-based relationships have become commonplace. In recent years, a new and disturbing arrangement known as "friends with benefits" has emerged. In this arrangement, men are not even forced to perform the normal duties of boyfriends, i.e. flowers, Valentine's Day cards, rides to the abortion clinic, etc. Instead, girls consider these guys "just friends" whom they happen to screw every now and again. No strings, no attachments, no dinners. Just sex when they feel like it.

This type of arrangement is the next logical step in the direction that young women have drifted in the last few decades. These women have become unpaid whores. At least prostitutes made a buck off of their trade. These women just give it away.

How cute! He was like the ur-incel, basically.

Anyway, following the discovery of the posts, the House Education and Workforce Committee's GOP communications director Kelley McNabb told Politico that "members were uncomfortable moving forward on the hearing." A more optimistic person might think this was a step forward, that maybe those committee members actually thought it was bad to suggest that being gay means being a disease-ridden monster or that college girls are whores, but it's probably more to avoid embarrassment than anything else. Guess they'll have to start from scratch and find a crappy economist who will tell them what they want to hear about the minimum wage but who doesn't have an embarrassing Geocities blog in their past. Good luck with that!

[Politico]

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