Monday, July 30, 2018

JULY 2018 IGNOMINIOUS ABSURDITY OF THE MONTH: THE IGGY

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1. President Trump. We are all used to Donald Trump being the crookedest man ever win the presidency. He lies constantly, about everything, all the time. Most of those lies are designed to prop up his own ego; he is forever telling tales about the size of his rally crowds or how he heard from an unnamed so-and-so, in private, who praised him for his brilliance. Other lies are attempts to dodge responsibility for his blunders or to hoodwink his audience about his own past acts. But then there are the lies that can only be described as dementia-like, in which Trump claims to have seen things that nobody else around him have seen and be roundly furious that nobody else will acknowledge them. Things that he may have seen in movies or had a vivid dream about, but do not comport with the reality the rest of us inhabit in any way, shape or form.

In his latest demented fiction, he said:

“The Democrats are making a strong push to abolish ICE, one of the smartest, toughest and most spirited law enforcement groups of men and women that I have ever seen. I have watched ICE liberate towns from the grasp of MS-13 & clean out the toughest of situations. They are great!

The notion that he has “watched ICE liberate towns from the grasp of MS-13” is so wrong as to not even be nonsensical. It is a flat delusion. There are no towns “under the grasp of MS-13” to begin with; despite the gang’s new status among anti-immigrant lobbyists and Republican neo-Nazis as a talking point, it is a violent but largely powerless collection of teenage schoolyard thugs targeting local victims. Their role in the drug trade is minimal, and their role in human smuggling non-existent. The goals of local gang leaders are to control schoolyards–the notion that they could seize control of a “town” is a lunatic claim.

Which brings us to the next bit; not only are there no “towns” that have been liberated, but ICE, a border agency, would not be liberating squat to begin with. That is not what they do. It is not even close to what they do, and it is not clear the sitting president even knows what they do. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency enforces border security; it does not conduct military operations to liberate cities. The region most commonly associated with MS-13 violence even in Republican minds is Long Island, New York; ICE does not conduct paramilitary town-liberation efforts on Long Island. If Trump is referring to the liberation of some non-American town, ICE does not go there. It processes immigrants, refugees, tourists, and the contents of shipping containers. It does not liberate towns!

What appears to have happened here is that Donald Trump has taken a Republican talking point–the identification of “MS-13” as the only majority-brown-skinned gang that anybody can think of, now inflated into a racist stand-in for all Latino immigrants everywhere because racism remains the only force capable of uniting Republican voters, and made up a movie in his own head in which not only had they taken over entire (United States?) towns, but were then met by border patrol and customs agents who swept in and “liberated” the town in daring raids.

This is evidence of dementia or other mental illness, including pathological fiction-inventing, malignant narcissism run amok, or something else. It goes beyond his usual egotistical polishing; the man either earnestly believes he has witnessed something nobody else in the world has seen, a story populated by figures that bear no resemblance to their real-world counterparts in the slightest, or his compulsion to lie is so extraordinary that he cannot help but invent claims. Whatever one calls it, Donald Trump is not fit for public office.

2. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky. Bevin is making good on his promise to start shooting hostages if the courts ruled against him in his effort to take Medicaid benefits away from some enrollees. On Friday a federal court ruled in favor of 16 low-income Kentuckians who sued the state over Bevin's new work requirements in the program.

Bevin promised when the suit was brought that if the courts ruled against him, he'd start taking benefits away, and he's started to do it, cancelling dental and vision coverage for the nearly 500,000 participants in the Medicaid expansion program.

U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg ruled Friday that the Trump administration "never adequately considered whether Kentucky HEALTH would in fact help the state furnish medical assistance to its citizens, a central objective of Medicaid," and that this "signal omission renders his [HHS Secretary Alex Azar's] determination arbitrary and capricious."

Arbitrary and capricious is what Bevin is doing right now by taking care away. This could lead to yet another lawsuit, which would probably make Bevin start slashing away at even more benefits—because he's a Republican and it's 2018.

3. Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert. It's been a while since we've heard from America's Dumbest Congressman, but that's on us, not him. It's not that Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas has been keeping any quieter: we've just tuned him out to instead deal with the antics of America's Dumbest President and other more consequential bits of national shame.

No, Rep. Louie Gohmert's mouth-hole is still blowing strong, and it piqued our interest to hear that he now believes Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has been spying on him.

“I’ve been told in the past there’s been great concern about who I saw, what I did and that I was being monitored and was even told they know everybody that walks in your office,” Gohmert said Monday in an interview on Fox Business's “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” [...]

“I don’t doubt for a minute that he has people who have been looking into my background. I’ve been told as much by some other folks,” Gohmert said in [another] interview, referring to Rosenstein.

The only reason the deputy attorney general's staff would be looking into Louie Gohmert's background is if they, like we, were deeply interested in the rumors that Gohmert was abandoned in the woods at a tender age and raised by a pack of stray soda can pull-tabs. Or, alternatively, if government agents wanted to know if Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas was neck-deep in efforts to scuttle the Russian election hacking investigation because he had interests of his own to protect.

It is probably neither of those things. The most probable scenario is that Louie Gohmert continues to be both deeply paranoid and deeply, egregiously stupid, and he heard something in some conversation somewhere about how the government could produce records of everyone that walked into Louie's office because Congress is supposed to keep those records, because duh, and transformed it into a story of the Republican Department of Republican Justice spying on him and/or threatening him.

So, Louie Gohmert is publicly declaring that he himself has, for some reason, landed under federal suspicion of being involved with acts of espionage, collusion, and treason. It's either that or he is once again just spouting whatever paranoid and buffoonish things leak out of his brain-holes, which would certainly be the norm for America's Dumbest Congressman.

4. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Az). Showing the world how utterly incompetent and stupid and intellectually bankrupt the Republican Party is, Arizona Rep. Gosar stepped up to the plate at FBI agent Peter Strzok’s 10-hour congressional grill session. When his turn to question Strzok came, Gosar, in an effort to defend his fellow moronic colleague Trey Gowdy, offered this brilliant defense:

“By the way, I’m a dentist, OK? So I read body language very, very well. And I watched you comment in your interactions with Mr. Gowdy. You got very angry in regards to the Gold Star father,” Gosar said. “That shows me that it’s innately a part of you and a bias.”

To further display his intellectual credentials, Gosar then attempted to deliver a speech about the U.S. government, but became confused and ran out of time mid-point.

“We are not a democracy. We are a Constitutional Republic,” Gosar claimed. “That is why we have, ah, uh, two ways, both from an, uh, democracy, voting, and then from, the, uh, where we have the, uh, electoral college.”

Before going any further with his incoherent rant, Gosar, best known as a conspiracy-lover, who has been denounced by his own family, and who has called the FBI and the Department of Justice treasonous , was cut off by his Republican colleague.

We should have seen this coming. This is the same man that posted on his Facebook page, “I pulled someone’s tooth on the House Floor my Freshman Year in Congress. I didn’t have my tools, so I used a frozen Snickers bar.” How do morons like this get elected?
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And this month’s winner is:

I was tempted this month to forego a July listing of IGGY candidates and simply give a lifetime Ignominious Absurdity Award to Donald Trump for his performance in Helsinki.  That said, I'll just follow custom and chose from the above listing.

I’m a citizen, so I know a moron when I see one. The July IGGY winner has to be Rep. Paul Gosar.


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