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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Reprinted with permission by AlterNet. 

By week’s end, Donald Trump was celebrating the fact that everyone finally stopped talking about his tendency to grope women against their will. Instead, the conversation had moved on, to the equally damning fact that Hillary Clinton sometimes sends people emails, and those emails can be found on computers!

The horror!

Trump really needed that. Maybe the system’s not rigged after all, he told his supporters on Friday. Too late. The armed right-wing militias are already mobilizing to intimidate voters who look like they might be Democrats.

It was a good week for gun-toting right-wing freedom fighters everywhere—the white ones, anyway. The Bundy brothers and their merry band of mischievous pranksters were acquitted of charges stemming from their armed takeover of federal land in Oregon. It was, their supporters said, God’s will.

And former tea-partying Congressman Joe Walsh helpfully explained that when he suggested “grabbing a musket” if Trump loses the election, he didn’t really mean violence or anything. “That’s just silly,” he said. He just meant, you know, freedom, which is what right-wingers always mean when they suggest guns are a good way to settle political differences.

Here are some other gems from the week that was.

1. Trump surrogate Betsy McCaughey outdoes herself just one week after absurdly quoting Beyonce.

Even if Trump thinks the whole “nasty” topic of his tendency to sexually assault women is a thing of the past, his minions demonstrated perfectly that they will remain confused about what sexual assault is anyway.

Newt Gingrich reinforced his creepy image when he conflated sex and sexual assault in his dustup with mean ol’ Megyn Kelly on Tuesday. She’s “fascinated with sex,” he said, when the Fox anchor was talking about women’s safety. When he attends his consciousness-raising workshop explaining the difference, he should bring kooky Betsy McCaughey along as his plus-one. McCaughey, who last week tried to argue that if you like Beyonce’s music, you can’t complain about sexual assault, this week put forth the absurd proposition that accusing a man of sexual assault is “man shaming.”

Nope, this is not a joke.

“The polls show that Americans are not buying this roll-out of accusers and this bigger theme of man-shaming,” McCaughey told CNN’s Don Lemon about the women who have come forward to accuse Trump of assaulting them. Quick note: the polls were showing that voters do believe it, aided no doubt by the fact that Trump bragged about doing this very thing. Just saying.

Man-shaming, huh. That’s a new one.

“With all due respect, that was the same thing that the folks over at Bill Cosby’s camp said,” Lemon pointed out.

“Well, and sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong,” McCaughey countered.

Ummm, yeah. They were right.

2. Ted Cruz threatens the U.S. Constitution, because he loves it so much.

Ted Cruz, who for some reason has already forgotten that everyone including his own party detests him, floated an interesting idea this week. Maybe, if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, Senate Republicans really will just take all of their toys and go home and stonewall on any Supreme Court appointment she attempts to make. So there.

“There is long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices,” Cruz said at a campaign event. “Just recently Justice [Stephen] Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job, that’s a debate that we are going to have.”

Cruz’s threat did not quite pack the punch of fellow tea partier Joe Walsh’s threat to “grab a musket” if the election does not go Trump’s way, but was more in Cruz’s trademark mealy-mouthed and thoroughly dishonest style.

For starters, there is no long history of that, and secondly, Breyer did not say that. The Senate’s inaction on Supreme Court appointees has severely and demonstrably affected the high court’s ability to do its job. Deadlocking on cases involving immigration and unions and other vital issues that have come before it means the court is literally failing to do its job, which is to decide things.

The Supreme Court is only the best known example of the harm GOP stonewalling has done to the judiciary. Republicans have confirmed only 18 of Obama’s federal court nominees, and created a “judicial emergency,” which is a term for when courts are so back-logged and caseloads are so high that Americans’ access to justice is endangered.

Cruz knows about this emergency and has gleefully propagated it. Unlike his idiotic fellow traveler, John McCain, whom Cruz was echoing, Cruz is a lawyer and touts himself as a constitutionalist, but for some reason it’s okay for him to ignore that part of the constitution that gives the powers of appointing justices to the president.

Can someone put Cruz back in the casket he sleeps in? He’s scaring the children.

3. Sean Hannity comes up with an insane and completely unnecessary conspiracy theory about the FBI email story.

By now, it is common knowledge among news junkies that the latest email mess for Hillary Clinton arose somewhat absurdly from a probe into Anthony Weiner’s alleged texting of his junk to underage girls. The fact that the latest piece of evidence is not Hillary Clinton’s computer; that the emails have likely been seen before; that they likely come from Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner; and that they could well prove to be much ado about nothing is not sitting well with Sean Hannity.

“This story is total bull. I don’t believe this for a minute,” “Hannity sputtered in his usual zero-information mode. Making very little sense, Hannity seemed to be suggesting he does not believe the tie to the Weiner investigation.

“Maybe Huma didn’t take a sledgehammer to her devices the way Hillary Clinton did. But this is not what resulted in the reopening of this case. No way, shape, manner, or form.” (That always makes things sound more truthy, when you say “no way, shape, manner ror form,” we find.) He went on to ramble about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

Hannity said the Times report is all part of that massive media conspiracy to “preserve” Hillary Clinton’s innocence. Also in on that conspiracy are media outlets including Fox News, which have said, along with FBI director James Comey himself, that the emails may not be significant. Comey is already under fire for calling attention to these emails and fueling the false hopes of rabid anti-Clintonites everywhere that Hillary is being investigated again.

It’s a tenuous mess, as is Hannity’s ever-loosening grip on reality.

4. Trump sycophant has the nuttiest justification for sexual assaults yet.

Having first bonded over insane conspiracy theories about President Obama, Trump and right-wing Christian nutjob Wayne Allyn Root have been bosom buddies every since.

Kind of literally.

In an interview with The Real Side radio this week, Root spouted some fairly unhinged theories about Trump’s “godliness” and whether a fellow as good looking as the Donald would engage in sexual assault. Clearly Root, who once ran for president as a Libertarian, is one of them deep thinkers.

Despite the fact that Trump openly (and let’s face it, rather pathetically) bragged about groping women to Billy Bush, Root told his equally bonkers host Joe Messina that Trump doesn’t even have to assault women, because he’s “one of the handsomest billionaires that’s ever lived.”

Hmmm. All kinds of crazy are packed into that statement.

Demonstrating some more contortions, Root explained how Christians ought to feel about Trump’s behavior, because they’re doing it wrong.

“If you’re a Christian, you just can’t spend your life worrying about the words of Donald Trump from 11 years ago, or what women he groped 30 years ago,” Root said. “I don’t think he ever had to grope a single woman ever. I think they threw themselves at him.”

There are 12 women and counting who definitely say otherwise, and even Trump isn’t suggesting they “threw themselves” at him.

Root allowed that Trump is not exactly “a perfect Christian,” but that doesn’t mean he’s not part of God’s ingenious plan. He is “the perfect guy sent from God and from central casting to be the vicious guy we needed to save America, save capitalism, fight the Clinton crime cartel and save Christianity from these vicious, vicious people,” Root said, as he spun out of control. “Only a dirty player could win the war, so I think Donald’s the perfect guy, sent by God to fill the perfect role and save us all.”

So that just about clears all of that up.

5. Wittle Donnie Trump’s feewings are hurt by Saturday Night Live.

In a huge blow to the comedy world, the very unfunny Donald Trump does not think he’s going to appear on Saturday Night Live anymore. Not even if they beg. And they will beg, believe me.

While many are howling with laughter at Alec Baldwin’s Trump portrayal in the show’s debate skits, Trump has been pouting about it.  Actually, come to think of it, Alec Baldwin does a pretty good imitation of that pout, too.

Here’s the thing: Trump suffers from what can only be seen as the delusion that he is a nice guy. We’re told that Hitler also considered himself a regular sweetheart.

“I think I’m a much nicer guy than he’s portraying,” Trump told Extra. “He’s portraying someone who’s very mean and nasty, and I’m not mean and nasty. I think I’m a much nicer person than he’s portraying.”

The word “nasty” has revealed itself to be one of Trump’s favorite adjectives, along with huuuuge, beautiful and rigged. Also bad and mean.

“I’m not interested in going back,” he said. “They’re making me out to be a very mean, bad kind of a guy.”

Actually, they are making you out to be a ridiculous kind of guy, Donald. New adjective for you.

Photo: Sean Hannity speaking at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Flickr/Gage Skidmore

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