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Wisconsin is one of those states that really hates poor people. (Yeah, we know. Just like the other 49.) The state's Republicans are particularly obsessed with what poors eat, or don't eat, or where they buy food to eat, or whether they're really poor enough to deserve to eat, or how best to humiliate them for wanting to eat. So in addition to separate but "equal" grocery stores, drug-testing welfare recipients, and spying on your neighbors' grocery carts to make sure they're not using YOUR tax dollars to buy unnecessary luxuries like food, Wisconsin Republicans have some more terrific ideas they're kicking around in Assembly Bill 177 to crack down on so-called "low-income individuals" and their fraudulent eating habits:


The department [of Health Services] shall publish on the department's Internet site a current list of the foods for which a recipient must use at least 67 percent of the benefits amount that the recipient uses in a month.

The department shall prohibit the use of benefits to purchase crab, lobster, shrimp, or any other shellfish.

It's not as if we haven't heard conservatives complain, many times, about how people who receive government assistance shouldn't be allowed to dine on lobster -- and by government assistance, they don't mean tax cuts for the rich. Rich people can spend their money on whatever they want because they made it themselves, without any help from anyone at all, and no one in their entire family tree ever received Social Security benefits or Medicare or a public school education, so if poor people want to eat lobster too, they should choose to bootstrap their way to wealth, like Mitt Romney, for example, with nothing but his father's stock portfolio to get him started.

However, that's quite different from participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or FoodShare, as it's called in Wisconsin. Those people, who are probably just faking their low incomes anyway, or wasting all their benefits on drugs, need to be carefully monitored and told exactly what they may and may not eat. The Wisconsin Women, Infants & Children Nutrition Program has a handy brochure of permitted and prohibited foods. Let's take a look!

How about beans, for example? They're cheap, filling, good for you, last forever. So sure, you can buy those. But if the store where you're shopping does not have a 16-oz. bag of dried beans, too bad for you, you're not going to rob your fellow Wisconsinites of their hard-earned tax dollars by purchasing a bag of beans that is more or less than one pound!

And as for organic? Forget it. Organic food is for gainfully incomed Americans. If you're not buying your own food your own self, you'll have your beans in whatever pesticide flavor is available in a one-pound bag and like it! Or not. Who cares? You're poor; what you like doesn't matter. So lucky you if you enjoy Pepperidge Farm Bread's 100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon with Raisin Swirl, but too bad if you like bagels. Any bagels. That is not government-approved poor food. Nor is sharp cheddar cheese; it's "mild or medium only" for you, moocher. And no white rice. And no "herbs, spices or seasonings." And no nuts, not even peanuts, which aren't nuts. But then, ketchup is not exactly a vegetable, and yet it's on the list of prohibited canned vegetables, so there. But really, the department is just looking out for your health, poor people. That's probably why you can only buy "light" canned tuna. Or maybe there is no rhyme or reason to any of these guidelines at all.

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And maybe there's no good reason for Wisconsin Republicans to worry their pretty little cheeseheads about how low-income families are getting fat on shellfish and sharp cheddar cheese, when they should be pissing into cups to prove they're not junkies. Maybe Wisconsin Republicans are just assholes. Just like in the other 49 states.

[Wisconsin State Legislature via RH Reality Check]

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I'd mentioned this week that there's definitely probably a tape out there of Donald Trump referring to a black person as a "nigger," because Trump is a racist and that's sort of what they do. Sarah Huckabee Sanders won't even affirmatively deny such a tape exists, and she's from the "two plus two equals five" school of communications management. I also speculated that once the tape was released, Republican supporters of the president would flock to defend his vile words: "Hey, if you rearrange the letters in "nigger," you get "ginger" and who doesn't like redheads and the occasional Dark 'n' Stormy?"

The shameful display has already started and the supposed recording isn't even available for pre-order on iTunes. George State Senator Michael Williams stated in appearance on CNN's "New Day Saturday" that if Trump -- who's the president, by the way -- did say "nigger," it would certainly concern him as an "individual" but "not necessarily as a person that is running our country." So, uh, what the hell is that? This has been a standard argument from Republicans ever since Trump crawled his way out of the sewers of birtherism and onto a major political stage: "We think Trump is a terrible human being -- seriously, we have to shower immediately after meeting with him -- but we still think he's a suitable steward of the most powerful nation on the planet."

Normally, you'd think this would work the other way. You know, your brother-in-law is a nice enough guy. Your sister certainly could've done worse. You don't mind the slightly rambling sports-ball discussions with him at family gatherings. He's good for looking after the kids (as long as your sister is present or reachable by cell), but you'd never invest your hard-earned money into whatever half-assed business venture he's trying to get off the ground nor would you back his run for any serious political office.

I've long had issues with the "brilliant asshole" archetype in TV and movies. It's almost always a white male (because women and minorities must be perfect) whose emotional immaturity and overall jerkass behavior we're told to overlook because they're so goshdarned awesome. Do you want some PC "cuck" or do you want Dr. House to figure out that the MS symptoms you're suffering are really just because you ate a stale doughnut? Sherlock Holmes doesn't have time for your feelings or social niceties -- not while he's solving mysteries and being dreamy.

Trump, however, isn't "brilliant." He's just a guy who says "nigger." They're hardly a scarcity in the market. You don't even have to venture out to a klan rally to find one. You can order online -- same day social media delivery.

Williams argues that Trump didn't use the word "nigger" when he was in the "office of the president." It was just some youthful indiscretion when he was almost 60. I don't even know where he's going with this. Does he think Trump has changed? He routinely insults and belittles black people. He also calls black NFL players who peacefully protest "sons of bitches." Was that his way of weaning off calling us "niggers"? Has he been wearing a "nigger" patch on his arm to control his cravings for the racial epithet?

"He used the word in his personal life," Williams said. (It was actually in a workplace context -- SER) "Now if he were president and were to go on TV and use the n-word, I'd have a major problem with that."

media.giphy.com

It's heartening repulsive to see that Williams draws the line at Trump holding an official "nigger" press conference. I think once we reach that point, Trump will probably also reveal that his buddies on the Supreme Court discovered a typo in the Thirteenth Amendment and black folks' work-life balance will start to really suffer.

"I will always say using the n-word is wrong, and it's bad, and should never be accepted in our society. But just because (Trump) might have done it years ago, not as our president, doesn't mean we need to continue to berate him because he used it," GOP state Sen. Michael Williams, who is white, told CNN's Victor Blackwell on "New Day Saturday."

Blackwell, who is black, had to sit there and listen to this crap from a white elected official who is just 45 years old. You know, the word "nigger" doesn't even appear in the Dred Scott decision, for example, but that's not necessary for reasonable people to understand that it was racist as hell. We all know Trump is racist, but now Republicans can't even repudiate the worst demonstrations of his racial animus. The first black president hasn't even been out of office for two full years and already "nigger" is being redefined. What would once end a campaign in its tracks when Blackwell and I were growing up is now just an "oops, my bad."

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Conservatives want to be oppressed. Or, rather, for everyone to think they are being oppressed and to then give them what they see as the impunity and moral upper hand that comes along with being an oppressed group of people. They want it very, very badly and think it is very unfair that all the people they have oppressed have this privilege and they do not. This morning, Trump took to Twitter to vow to protect them from the worst kind of oppression of all -- imaginary social media censorship!

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