Cartoon of man in suit with tiny hands in the air and a big huge head with lots of wild yellow hair, his mouth open and looking upset

A lot went on in national politics this week. After a benign start to February, the past seven days stunned us by providing plenty of drama to think about and discuss. The Republicans have always been intent on dragging civilization back a few centuries, but it was amazing to see on how many fronts they are now appealing to their base. The Democrats took a big swig of Dutch courage and had someone be on their feet for eight hours straight. There was another shutdown, the vice-president embarrassed himself, and one of the world’s most famous election thieves crawled out of the woodwork to complain about election theft.

President/Emperor/Fuhrer/Premier/Supreme Leader His Royal Highness Donald J. Drumpf XXVIII out of the blue called for a military parade through Washington. The construction of his presidential library, gilded throughout and with a McDonald’s in the lobby, is years away and he needs more “monuments” to him right now. As ridiculous as his request is, much of the backlash and analysis has been either misguided or flat out wrong. Many called the president a hypocrite for wanting a parade like North Korea and other dictatorships which find themselves enemies of America. That was stupid. Developed and/or democratic nations have parades (India puts on a particularly good one). Saying we shouldn’t have one because North Korea does and Nazi Germany did is the same as saying we shouldn’t eat rice because people in Pyongyang cook a lot of it. The real reasons we shouldn’t have a parade are that it would use up a lot of precious taxpayer dollars and will do nothing for national unity. America already goes way overboard in celebrating the military. Watching some guy wearing epaulettes walk down Pennsylvania Avenue won’t make fascists and socialists hug each other and hold hands. Then there were the comments about how a draft dodger should not be honored with a military parade. If there is one thing Trump should be respected for it is not fighting in an illegal war. Everyone who faked an injury, dropped acid before their army medical, or vacationed in Canada is an American hero. They refused to be sent around the world to murder people who posed no threat to the United States. Regardless of their contemporary politics, every draft dodger’s actions should be recognized.

Unbeknownst to most Americans, the government shut down (again) for a few hours Thursday night. The spending bill that ended the last shutdown expired while Rand Paul took to the Senate floor to rail against a bloated federal government and out-of-control spending. He broke with his party and did what his state’s voters originally sent him to Washington to do: reduce government spending and balance the budget. He didn’t let himself become mired in party infighting, nor did he change his position(s) on issues because of who is running the government now. His entire aim for the shutdown was to get for his voters what they asked for years ago. Even though it is hard to agree with anything the Paul family says and believes, America would be much better off if more politicians acted like Rand Paul.

Ultimately, the senator was unsuccessful as the government reopened via Trump’s signature on a new budget deal. The bill covers the next two years of spending. The good news is that the Child Health Insurance Program has been extended, Medicare receives some expansions, and there are continuing tax credits for some renewable energy technologies. It may seem like that’s not much for the Democrats to have achieved, and it isn’t. The perpetuation of the status quo really isn’t what the people need in 2018. Yes, the Republicans are in charge and something is better than nothing, however, more can be done by the elected left. The Democrats controlled the government in 2009-2010, but the Republicans got their pro-big business Affordable Care Act signed into law. The Republican majority can also not be blamed because the Democrats are the party of the status quo. They run for office on “saving” programs rather than creating new ones that generate real progress. They would let Queen Elizabeth take over America provided they could tell people they were unhappy about it and had managed to keep The Star-Spangled Banner as the national anthem.

Now we get to the wasteful and just plain insane spending. Over $160 billion dollars is being added to the Pentagon’s budget. That kind of money alone would build a phenomenal military, but it is just a budget increase. The military has for many, many years received far more than its fair share of tax dollars, and the additional funds are redundant. The Republicans only do it to appeal to the most jingoistic, nationalistic, phallically-challenged Americans. They love having a big military with its long, thick missiles and bulky tanks. They get off on America being “the most powerful nation on the face of the Earth.” Most dangerously, they believe their little American towns are at risk from Yemeni street urchins and Afghani farmers. It is thanks to that the government can always drum up support for another military excursion to clear the way for Starbucks and rid the planet of heathens.

More than a billion dollars has been taken away from local public health prevention programs, and there is ongoing funding for abstinence education. That’s correct: abstinence education. I was so horrified when I read about that you could have knocked me down with a feather. The United States government gives money away to people who tell mammals (we’re here, we’re hairy, get used to it) to not have sex. Let’s be abundantly clear: people are always going to do it. Teenagers are guaranteed to have raging hormones and experiment with each other. Very few adults will miss out on enjoying life while they wait for marriage. The only choices for sex are for people to do it safely or do it with many risks. Teaching abstinence doesn’t exactly prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies. The only sex education that should exist is that which revolves around contraception, health, and hygiene. I may be wrong about abstinence, but only if the bathrooms in Catholic schools and rural constituencies have the dirtiest toilet seats in America.

The budget also includes tax breaks for building dangerous nuclear power plants. Timber sales will have a lower tax burden, increasing incentives for cutting down forests. Kentucky got its money’s worth from Mitch McConnell with financial benefits for coal mines, private colleges, and horse racetracks. I finally have peace of mind knowing my government voted to help the huge demographic of poor, sick, and hungry racetrack owners. As a whole, the spending agreement does more harm than good.

George Wanker Bush took time away from his paintbrushes to complain about Russian involvement in the 2016 election. He admitted the Russians may not have swayed the outcome before stating that it is problematic they were permitted to play a part in any capacity. Since letting Dick Cheney and Karl Rove run the country into the ground, George Wanker Bush has largely (and wisely) kept away from the spotlight. It was therefore a big surprise to see him making headlines about election theft of all things. His family’s friends on the Supreme Court handed him the presidency in 2000 despite Al Gore being the rightful victor. The tabulation machines run by his party cohorts conveniently failed to count Democratic votes thanks to hanging chads. He “won” the 2004 election after electronic voting machine anomalies, voter roll purges, undelivered absentee ballots, and a number of other illegal actions undertaken in his favor. Someone who was president of the United States for eight years thanks to stolen elections must have gigantic brass balls to tell the world how Trump got into office is wrong. What makes the speech even more absurd is that George Wanker Bush gave it in the Middle East. To mention democracy there is like discussing tolerance at a KKK rally.

The administration again used Mike Pence as its designated asshole. He traveled to South Korea as head of the US delegation to the Winter Olympics. During the opening ceremony, he refused to stand for any nation other than America. He avoided sitting at a table with the North Korean ceremonial Head of State, Kim Yong-nam, even leaving the entire reception after only five minutes. His entire trip was to engage in pathetic bullshit. Pence acted like an insolent child and proved no point other than he is a sad little person whose life is being run by Donald Trump. If the administration was serious about stemming nuclear proliferation, it would have sat down with the North Koreans and opened the lines of mature communication. It also would have shown other countries respect and gained their support in working with North Korea. We need a leader who falls between this administration’s immaturity and Obama’s serious yet do-nothing diplomacy.

The Department of the Interior is the department I find myself talking about the most. Usually, political opinion or analysis is focused on Justice or the Treasury. Outside of saying Steven Mdouchein is a willy giver, there’s nothing worthwhile going on in his department. Jeff Sessions has been quiet the past couple of weeks and compiling a list of people who have been fired or resigned from the Justice Department isn’t a good use of my time. Ryan Zinke, on the other hand, has been very active in his roles as Extinctor- and Destroyer-in-Chief. He spent his week forcing an expansion of hunting access in western states. His order essentially allows more big-game animals to be murdered and for more people to obtain any necessary permits. The increase in hunting will not fulfill any pest control needs, nor will it bring in much more money which could be reinvested in public lands or increase tourism to certain regions. More lands will be inaccessible to hikers and wildlife watchers because they don’t want to get shot. There will be less wildlife to go out and see. There is a potential for ecological imbalance as species are taken out of the environment via unnatural methods. All Zinke’s order does is make a few people happy, people who enjoy killing animals for the pure mindless thrill of it.

SURPRISE! Nancy Pelosi did something this week! She delivered an eight-hour speech in the House to force the Republican leadership to take up legislation on immigration reform and Dreamer protection. Both Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have said they will allow that to happen, and the Senate begins debate on the issue on Monday. However, there has been no promise of additional protections or new legislation. As unproductive as the speech may turn out to be, and as much as I really do hate Nancy Pelosi, she at least did something to further the Dreamers’ cause. For that, she deserves some credit. She showed that maybe the Democratic Party does have a tiny activist bone in its body after all. Nonetheless, she still needs to be replaced by a pot-smoking black lesbian radical socialist 20-something-year-old.

I’m signing off now because my fingers are tired, and I need to take a shower after spending so much time thinking about American politicians. Hopefully next week will be wonderfully progressive for you all.