Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Whatever works

On the most recent episode of Madam Secretary -- all right, it's the chick version of The West Wing -- Elizabeth, the title character, has to explain to a Gold Star mother why her son was killed in Ukraine.  She does this with a brief, concise history of NATO (which she calls, with only a little hyperbole, "the most important agreement since Magna Carta"), and how it has prevented another arms buildup, another European war, and not incidentally Russian aggression in the West.  "An attack against one is considered an attack against all."  When she has finished the mother (and the audience) have the basic outline of this organization they may know, if at all, from history classes long ago.

The timing may be intentional; it may not.  Tomorrow a president who does not read, knows nothing of his own country's history much less Europe's, and gets all his information from television (or ten minutes with the president of China) will arrive in Brussels, which he called a "hell hole," to take part in a meeting of NATO, which he called "obsolete."  If there is anyone around him who is not one of Putin's puppets, if there is even one person who cares about liberal democracy and world peace, he or she should try hard to screen this episode for him prior to the meeting.  Make sure he has a caffeine buzz from Coca-Cola, and hint that Tea Leoni is still plenty hot.

It can't hurt.

Crazy, he says

The Rolling Blunder tour continues.

Everybody loves Pope Francis, so the media front-and-center was his meeting with The Trumps, the women dressed as if for a royal Spanish funeral, the ritual exchange of gifts (Francis pointedly handing over his letter on climate change), the rare photo of him not smiling.  Meanwhile Newsweek brought us the official White House transcript of a phone conversation last month that boggled even my usually boggle-proof mind.

Trump loves a strongman, and if I were Vlad Putin I'd be jealous of his new bromance with Rodrigo Duterte, headman  of the Philippines.  He was very impressed with the way Duterte is dealing with that nation's drug problem, basically by killing everyone caught with drugs.  "Many countries have the problem, we have the problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that," he said, because he's shy and wanted to work around to the real reason, an invitation to a White House sleepover.  Because things went so well when Erdogan was here. 

Later the conversation turned to North Korea, as it will, and there came this tidbit:

"We have a lot of firepower over there.  We have two submarines -- the best in the world -- we have two nuclear submarines -- not that we want to use them at all.  I've never seen anything like they are, but we don't have to use this, but he could be crazy so we will see what happens."

"He" being Kim Jong-un, of course, and if he wasn't inclined to do something crazy before, wait till he sees the current Newsweek.  Two nuclear subs off his coast -- is it time to step up the missile tests, do you think?  Or will he assume it's empty bluster, since no American president would be treasonously stupid enough to mention the location of two nuclear submarines?

Then again...sharing foreign intel with Russians?  "Don't worry, Bibi, I didn't tell the Ussians-ray that it came from Ossad-may.  What are these called, hamentaschen?  I like pastry.  Is there ice cream?"

Kim probably knows that "crazy" is just trumpspeak for "won't do what I want," like Comey and Yates.  Kim's going to do whatever he wants, regardless.  The question is, what are we going to do about this disaster who can't open his mouth without jeopardizing lives by the tens of millions?



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hi, Mom!

"It is a great honor to be here with all my friends -- so amazing and will never forget!"

That's what you say when you are inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame after being elected by the old-timers committee.  That is not what you write in the visitors book at Yad Vashem, especially when representing a once-proud nation of more than three hundred million.

In the words of General Colin Powell, "Donald Trump is a national disgrace."

Monday, May 22, 2017

Catching up

Image result for sleeper woody allen
Maybe there will never be peace in the Middle East, but at least Saudi Arabia has begun to appreciate Woody Allen.  Small steps.

Did Melania actually step off the red carpet in Israel to avoid her husband's hand?  Will she be leaving the tour early like Priebus?  Did Netanyahu really have to order his ministers not to boycott the welcoming ceremony?   

The "so-called Supreme Court" (as Senator Richard Russell used to call them back in the days of Earl Warren and Brown) struck down some of the worst of North Carolina's racial gerrymandering laws.  Bet you a dollar Trump tries to fire them.

After two whole days away from Big Macs and Mar-a-Legomyeggo, Trump is reportedly "exhausted."  Maybe he has a brain tumor and is nearly dead, like Hillary.  Yeah, he probably caught it from her.  He didn't curtsy to King Salman, he just tripped.  It's so hot.  Who ever thought Arabia was so hot in May?  Nobody could have known. 

Speaking of royalty, I know why Prince Philip announced his retirement:  so he never has to meet Trump.  "Sorry, old girl, I've backed you up for seventy years but this is the bloody limit."

Between praying at the Western Wall and calling Islam a "great religion," Trump has the alt-right chewing on themselves with rage.  Roger Stone says he wants to vomit, which is fine with me, all over that Adolphe Menjou suit if you don't mind.  A silver lining to go with the gold medal.

Fastest way to get out of the parking lot ahead of the crowd at a commencement this spring is to book a member of the Trump junta as speaker.  DeVos and Pence have addressed the backs of exiting graduates so far.  Anyone for Mickey Flynn?  (The Air Force Academy didn't really have the option.)

A professional hunter in South Africa was crushed to death by a shot elephant.  Should I be happy or delighted?  Since the elephant died, too, I'll go with quietly amused.

Now that ISIS knows it has a mole reporting to Mossad, there should be some interesting activity there.  Thanks, Donald, and your very good brain.  (He actually has a very good brain.  It was a gift from Ben Carson.)

Iran had an election, and the candidate who got the most votes gets to be president.  Now exactly how does that work?


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Orb and sphincter

I thought it couldn't get any more weird.  I was wrong.  I'm sorry.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

They're with stupid

As bad as his one-on-one interviews are, there is a special level of loopy when Metamucilini faces the media alongside a visiting head of state.  He has fewer opportunities to out himself for obstruction of justice, as he did to Lester Holt, but a greater likelihood of giving us tantalizing glimpses of advancing dementia.  Today it was the turn of Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia, to stand before the White House's proliferating golden drapes and try not to look gobsmacked.

Asked about the number one topic of the week, this is what he said:

"The entire thing has been a witch hunt.  There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can only speak for myself, and the Russians.  Zero.  I think it divides the country.  I think it divides the country between that and a lot of things."

Huh?  President Santos seemed to be thinking, "I studied English, I thought I was fluent.  I need to review those Berlitz tapes.  What the hell?"

And starting next week, a portion of the world gets to enjoy this audible diarrhea in person.  Translators and sign language interpreters are seriously underpaid. 

Death comes for the arch liar

Gore Vidal once said his hands shook every morning until he got his fix of Watergate news, from a delivery system called a "newspaper."  I haven't seen a printed paper in months, but I experience  similar withdrawal symptoms as I wait to see each day's follies, foibles and -- oh, all right, atrocities.  What now?  Has he sold Alaska to Russia for twice what we paid?  ("A beautiful deal, absolutely the best deal, believe me.")  Is the population of Seoul fleeing to the hills?  Has all the snow melted in the Andes?  I'm always ready, and I'm never ready.

I wasn't ready for the death of Roger Ailes; plenty of fat old men are living surprisingly long lives.  Am I supposed to mourn?  The network he shaped has turned its back on the real mess in Washington, insofar as that's possible, in favor of breathless, fact-free moonshine about a poor young man who worked for the Democratic National Committee and was murdered last year in an apparent robbery (according to District of Columbia police).  According to the righzi media, Seth Rich was really a victim of the Hillary Rodham Clinton Lesbian Ninja Death Squad.  His appalled family has protested this idiocy, but who cares about their grief?  Trogs who rely on Fox for their "news" in and out of the White House are certain it's true because lock her up. 

And so in the midst of this fantasy/conspiracy extravaganza Big Daddy has died.  Fuck him and all his vile works.  Fuck him twice.  May all his pallbearers suffer hernias.  I wish I believed in hell. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Is this thing on?

I've never had a colonoscopy, and I'm in the age group for which it's recommended. You can guess the reasons I've put it off -- time, money, fear.  But now I see from the television commercials (where I get most of my medical information) that a company called Cologuard will examine your, uh, stool and alert you to abnormalities.  No fuss, not much mess, and you were going to dispose of it anyway so why not use the US mail?  I had to go to the post office in any case, to send my DNA to and finally, definitively, find out who I am.

Unfortunately, I mixed up the samples.  I sent saliva to Cologuard and shit to Ancestry.  This morning Ancestry told me I'm related to Donald Trump.

Thank you, I'm here all day, every day.  Try the organic cauliflower!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Surprise inspection

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov drops by the White House to take some oral measurements.

No American press.  Russian only.


That well-known racist, sexist and (probably) homophobe Abe Lincoln liked to tell a story about a frontiersman who returned to his cabin to find his wife struggling in the arms of an enormous bear.  Leaning on a tree and lighting his pipe, he called out, "Go it, woman!  Go it, bear!"

That sums up my response to so many of the Great Controversies of our time.  Remember, for one example, the dispute between the Disney Corporation and the Southern Baptist Convention?  I may have to choose the lesser of two evils every second November, but when the inexcusable crashes into the indefensible, I lean back and root for both of them to go for the jugular. 

So when I heard that the inexcusable Trump had fired the indefensible Comey -- the same way Comey did, from television (classy as always, Metamucilini!) I managed a resounding "Meh."  The worst FBI director since Hoover shit-canned by the worst president since...ever.  What else is on?

Let's see...Comey decided we all needed to know that a couple of those tired old emails turned up on Anthony Weiner's computer, thus creating enough doubt to tip the election to Trump, yay!  Then he told the Justice Department there were still no grounds to "lock her up," boo!  Then he came to Congress and told them how nauseated (not "nauseous," please) he felt to have undermined democracy and stuff, boo-hoo.  Then he confirmed that his outfit was investigating the hell out of the Russian connections of Flynn, Page, Manafort, etc., etc., uh-oh!  And then the boot.  But like the Affordable Care Act, he'll be replaced with something much better.  Probably Jared Kushner, once  he's sorted out the Israel-Palestine thing and re-organized the federal government.

Our thoughts turn inexorably to 1973 and the Night of the Long Knives (the dismissal of Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor, Attorney General Elliott Richardson and his deputy William Ruckelshaus, if you're playing at home), and in case anyone missed the point, Henry Fucking Kissinger showed up at the White House to remind us.  He must be the last living unindicted member of the Nixon administration.  The question now is, how long can they hire and fire people to fend off the inevitable?  The answer is implicit in the negative response to Schumer's demand for a special prosecutor:  as long as they can get away with it, while distracting the public with troops in Afghanistan and rumbles in the Korean peninsula and whatever else they dream up. 

And Jim?  In the words of the White House counsel on The West Wing, "It's time to write your book now."