Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Praise the lord and pass the ammunition

In Five Star Final (1931), Edward G. Robinson assigns a drunken reporter (Boris Karloff) to invade the home of a woman who was in the news long ago and sniff around for a story.  When Karloff reappears dressed as a clergyman, Robinson looks him up and down and remarks, "You're as blasphemous an object as I've ever seen."

I've got that beat.  Call it the Spring Religious Offensive.  Yesterday a group of peaceful protesters was dispersed with tear gas and rubber bullets so Trump could visit St. John's Episcopal Church, apparently because it was closest to the White House.  The bishop of Washington, Marion Budde, was outraged:  "The president just used a Bible...and one of the churches of my diocese, without permission, as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus."  A Jesuit named James Martin was more direct:  "This is revolting.  A Bible is not a prop.  A church is not a photo op.  Religion is not a political tool."  Really?  Where have you been, father?

Undeterred, Trump got Melania out of her suite and made her accompany him to the shrine of Pope John Paul II, because she's putatively Catholic.  This angered Archbishop Wilton Gregory:  "I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people, even those with whom we might disagree."  I hope their excellencies, or whatever you call a bishop, appreciate that Trump is making Sharpie-scribble at the bottom of yet another Executive Order about religious freedom, which is under siege in our Great Country from wise guy bloggers like me.  Not today, though.  Today I stand with them.


I am indebted to Evan Hurst at Wonkette for this photo mashup, and for pointing out that Trump is the one holding the Bible upside down.  Say what you like about the other guy, he wasn't illiterate.

Richard Wolff in the Guardian is insightful as always, but it's Evan who noticed that the day began for Donnie with a phone call from the boss in Moscow.  Vladimir Putin has been expert at using the Russian Orthodox Church to advance his agenda.  As his puppet flails and flounders,  Putin may have ordered him to play the religion card instead of hiding in his bunker like a loser.  Every mosque, synagogue and Friends meetinghouse within fifty miles of the White House may want to think about turning out the lights and locking the doors.  Apparently he's sufficiently afraid of covid that he won't be inviting his evangelicals to crowd into the Oval and rub up against him, at least for now.  
   

Monday, June 01, 2020

MAGA Night at the White House

When we last checked on President Perfect he was embarrassingly excited by the thought of "vicious dogs and ominous weapons" being unleashed on people who are still, for some reason, enraged at the murder of black people by blue people.  "Totally professional, but very cool," he praised the Secret Service.  "I was inside, watched every move, and couldn't have felt more safe," because as usual, it was all about him.  Last night the demonstrators moved across the street to Lafayette Park, and he felt so safe he scurried into the LeaderBunker, still faintly scented with Dick Cheney on 9/11, and had all the lights turned off for the first time since the air raid precautions of the 1940s.  And the Biden campaign awoke to find itself with the visual symbol that political ops dream about.

This morning "Mr. Man" decided it was time to conference-call the governors because, as with the covid pandemic, he accepts responsibility for nothing.  As we remember from that fateful White House Correspondents dinner, Trump cannot stand being laughed at, and can imagine nothing worse.  And as #BunkerBitch exploded on Twitter, he raged that the world is "laughing at Minneapolis."  Not at him cowering in the cellar, OK?  "You're making a mistake because you're making yourselves look like fools...You have to dominate.  If you don't dominate you're wasting your time," he went on, sounding like a frustrated coach at half-time.  Then he went into lying/default mode, blaming the uprisings on "the radical left" and Antifa, which is only real compared to QAnon.  He promised to "activate Barr," which I believe happens when a rabbi inscribes MAGA on his forehead, but I may be remembering Der Golem.  (I'm dreaming in German Expressionism these days.)  And since the federal courts have ruled repeatedly that flag-burning is protected free speech, he wants the states to pass laws against it, because he has no fucking idea how federalism works.

When the call finally ended and the governors went back to their real jobs, Trump resumed his love/hate relationship with Twitter, and this was the result, I swear:  "Sleepy Joe Biden's people are so Radical Left that they are working to get the Anarchists out of jail, and probably more.  Joe doesn't know anything about it, he is clueless, but they will be the real power, not Joe.  They will be calling the shots!  Big tax increases for all, Plus!"  Lousy anarchists and their lousy tax increases.

If today's protests are less fraught, it's probably because the courtiers talked him out of making a speech last night as real presidents used to do.  Instead -- oh shit -- they'll organize a "listening tour of sorts" to "develop constructive ideas."  He'll pose with cops, more cops, non-confrontational black people and some experts from Fox News, and figure this thing out.  Not with Philonise Floyd, George Floyd's brother, who was less than enthusiastic about the two-minute call he got from Trump yesterday.  The widow of Sergeant LaDavid Johnson could have told him what to expect in the way of empathy.

The thing about the Republicans, there's always someone a little crazier.  They compete for it like the ladies on RuPaul's Drag Race.  No sooner had Trump identified the problem as Radical Left Tax Increasing Anarchists than Tom "I Get To Make My Own Foreign Policy" Cotton jumped up to demand the deployment of the 101st Airborne.  Because nothing says "peace and reconciliation" like the Screaming Eagles.  I'm sure he'd be yelling for the SEALs if not for that spot of bother about Eddie Gallagher, the knife and the teenager -- a little tarnished.  So if the boogaloo bois and the other very fine people don't quite manage to touch off a civil war, Tall Cotton is ready to help.

And so, on to another night of curfews and tear gas, echoed by turnouts in Toronto, Berlin, London and even Tehran.  More assaulted celebrities like John Cusack.  More high-profile arrests like Chiara de Blasio (yeah, like hell the police didn't know she's the mayor's daughter).  More people spreading coronavirus -- remember that?  Because it's ninety-nine years today since a white mob burned the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, the "Black Wall Street," and killed more than three hundred people.  And we have learned nothing.

Back to the bunker, bitch.




 


Lights out

Even the flag is limp.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Springtime for Twitler

"Take a knee" means something different to police.  Matt McKnight shared video of Seattle police arresting two men in the act of looting a T-Mobile store.  They are wrestled to the ground, and then police kneel on their necks.  That both appear to be white is beside the point.  Is this a standard practice taught in police academies?

How about driving police vans into crowds?  This echo of Charlottesville happened in New York City, whose mayor says it's the people's fault for standing in the street.  It was "upsetting," DiBlasio added, "and I wish the officers hadn't done that."  Do you know Susan Collins, mayor?

In Louisville police rammed and destroyed bottled water set out for marchers.  In Salt Lake City they knocked down an old man who was standing by the road.  In Minneapolis they fired paintballs at people standing on their porch while shouting, "Light 'em up!"  And everywhere reporters were assaulted and maced.  I suppose all those officers were "in fear for my life."

What do we do when we are in fear for our lives?  "Nine one one, what is your emergency?"  "A cop shot my nana with a paintball."  "What is your location?"  "Uh...never mind."

Welcome to Trumplandia.  You're on your own.








Saturday, May 30, 2020

Just what we want

Pandemic, race war, mass unemployment, collapsing dams, vote suppression, homicide hornets...I feel like something is missing.

"So you think we can have a slightly enhanced hurricane season?  That's just what we want, that's just what we want."

Do I have to tell you?  Homeland Security and FEMA officials had to brief The Leader on the coming summer, and his response was typically inappropriate.  He did add, "Let's see, hopefully that won't be the case," but it was too late.  He takes a senile pride in being number one in coronavirus cases and covid deaths, and the Resolute desk barely conceals his arousal at the violence sweeping the country.  Putin must wish he could have found a less stupid reality TV star to do his bidding -- Mama June, say, or The Situation.

Trump's not exactly using Twitter to "glamorize violence" today, but he can't stop talking about it.  Usually he only gets this excited when Princess opens a new sweatshop in China.  He decided we need a lesson about one of the more shameful episodes in our history:  "Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey will never be mistaken for the late, great General Douglas McArthur [sic] or great fighter George Patton...Get tough and fight (and arrest the bad ones).  STRENGTH!"  True, Mayor Frey would never mount a white horse and burn an encampment of hungry veterans in violation of orders from his superior. (All right, who told Trump about the Bonus Army?  Barron?)  Even Bill Kristol thought this was nuts:  "Not to over-interpret Trump's idiocy, but the president of the United States is basically salivating at the thought of using the U.S. military in American cities."

But they are arresting the bad ones.  That's how we know that most of them are what Orval Faubus and Bull Connor used to call "outside agitators."  The governor and the public safety commissioner say eighty percent of those arrested came from outside Minnesota, and many have links to "white supremacist groups and organized crime."  Mayor Melvin Carter of St. Paul thinks they're using the murder of George Floyd "as a cover to create havoc."

Taking their cue from Trump, the police know who to go after:  the press.  Like Derek Chauvin, they aren't even a little shy about having their pictures taken.  Omar Jimenez of CNN was on the air when he and his crew were arrested; they were freed after Jeff Zucker phoned Governor Walz in a rage.  In Louisville, Kaitlin Rust was live on WAVE when a police officer began firing pepper pellets at her.  Linda Tirado, author of Hand To Mouth:  Living In Bootstrap America, was hit with a "rubber bullet" and has lost the sight in her left eye.  So buy her book now.  It's the least we can do.

Wise guys and Proud Boys don't come to town to steal televisions and break windows.  You can be sure their agenda is more Reichstag Fire, creating the conditions for some kind of "national emergency" proclamation involving martial law.  No big, just enough to cancel the elections Trump increasingly dreads and intern a few thousand "troublemakers."  I hope I'm wrong, but this is uncharted territory.  I wonder if our First Amendment is strong enough to stand up to their Second.

 



 


FYI

ThumbnailA commenter who goes by Our Man In Redneckistan posted this over at Wonkette.  I share with thanks.

Friday, May 29, 2020

WTF Friday, Part ?




I would give almost anything for a day not completely Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole mad.  When was the last one?

After three nights of demonstrations that left one man dead (possibly shot by a shopkeeper) and a police station and library burned, former officer Derek Chauvin, last seen with his knee on George Floyd's neck, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.  It sounds like the Hennepin County attorney is already lining up lesser and lesser-still charges to give the jury a choice.  Earlier today he insisted it was too soon for an arrest because of "other evidence that doesn't support a criminal charge."  I guess he changed his mind.  Now his problem will be finding twelve people who haven't seen the appalling video.  The preliminary autopsy report contains the intriguing phrase "no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation," so the Floyd family has arranged for a private autopsy.  It's pretty certain he didn't die of covid.

The death of Breonna Taylor on March 13 got little attention because of the pandemic.  That ended last night, when demonstrators in Louisville memorialized her along with George Floyd.  This one is even worse, because she was killed in her own home by police who broke in with a "no-knock" warrant at the wrong address.  They shot the EMT eight times.  No police arrested or charged.  In Louisville*, seven people were shot.  Demonstrations in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Houston and other cities were angry but nobody died.

There is, of course, no crisis that Trump can't aggravate and inflame.  Last night he was issuing threats to Minneapolis's "Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey" about how he would "assume control" (whatever that means) if the city was not brought "under control," and concluding with a quote from a long-ago Miami police chief:  "When the looting starts, the shooting starts."  This caused Twitter to flag him for violating policy regarding "the glorification of violence."  By now there must be complaints of censorship from Herr Twitler, but I'm not motivated to go looking for them.   Trump hates censorship.  So why did his campaign try to get Nick Anderson's cartoon pulled from the online retailer Redbubble?  Definitely not because it compared him to Jim Jones and his Trumpanzees to the cult People's Temple.  Definitely not.  Copyright issue.  It seems you can't draw a MAGA hat without the express written consent of the hypocrite-in-chief.  After some prompting from First Amendment types, Redbubble told them to schtup mud.

There were no buses promising jillions of dollars in savings when America threw off the shackles of the World Health Organization, as with Boris's Brexit Lie, but mark your calendars, we're free at last.  And what better time than the middle of a hundred-year pandemic?  Watch out, UNESCO, you're next.

Laura Ingraham is having a Pulitzer week.  On Wednesday she devoted her hour to an in-depth investigation of whether Joe Biden farted during an interview.  (Conclusion:  yes.)  Last night she assured her black viewers, if any, that Trump can feel the pain of police brutality because he has suffered so much at the hands of Robert Mueller and the FBI.  Once again the name of Rosa Parks emerged from her mouth because nobody was there to slap her silly.  So when Trump called the Minneapolis protesters "thugs" it was a gesture of brotherhood and not a signal to his cult.

Don't get mad, get elected:  Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, is running for the Miami-Dade County Commission.  Hillary Clinton is raising money for her.  Don't worry, Trump will get around to it.  He's busy tweeting abuse of China, Minneapolis, Joe Scarborough and Twitter.

Mitch McConnell doesn't see much of a future for himself or his party:  He's pressuring federal judges to retire this year so he, uh, so Trump can appoint younger, worse ones.  Glass half full?




*I didn't know which Louis was the Louisville Louis, but apparently it was the unlucky one.  A protester broke off the right hand of the giant statue of Louis XVI last night.  Evidently the head wouldn't come loose.  Maybe next time.










 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

License to kill

In the midst of Executively Ordering that terrible vengeance will befall Twitter if they demur, even a little, about his lunatic posts, Trump found time to re-tweet (and presumably endorse) this psychopath declaring, "The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat."  Over to you, Mr. Dorsey.  Will you add, "Get the facts on murdering Democrats"?  May I suggest attaching a clip of the JFK motorcade?

This country is full of idiots who take their cues from Trump on self-medicating with hydroxychloroquine, bleach, and now probably insulin; on treating all women as sex toys; on blaming coronavirus on anyone who looks Asian; on investing in assault weapons instead of face masks; on terrorizing reporters, government officials who stand up to him, and even healthcare workers he basically accused of stealing supplies.  How do you think this incitement to murder will play with the Trumpanzees?

The Pennsylvania Legislature didn't need much prompting.  Rep. Russ Diamond tested positive for covid and let his Republican colleagues know, including Speaker Mike Turzai, but nobody bothered to alert the Democrats.  Particularly pissed is Rep. Brian Sims, who recently donated a kidney.  He thinks Turzai and Diamond should resign over this little mix-up.  Another reason to kill dislike Democrats -- no sense of humor.  


 

 This is Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis police union, at a Trump rally last year.  He gets it.  He doesn't need some minor politician in a rented cowboy costume to tell him that the blacks hate Trump and vote Democrat and what he should do about it.  He and his brothers in blue (and red) know how to handle uppity perps.  The National Guard is in Minneapolis because they handled George Floyd.  "The Obama administration and the handcuffing and oppression of police was despicable.  The first thing President Trump did when he took office was turn that around," Kroll told the rally.  No arguments there.  And no wonder that Twitter is lit up today with #Ivehadenough.

We have all had enough.  And I'm afraid we're going to get more.  This is shaping up as the worst summer since 1861.



Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Great Depression

I thought the Census Bureau had its hands full just counting Americans, but they apparently make time to ask about our feelings and who should host the Oscars and issues like that.  This is how we know that a third of the population reports signs of clinical anxiety or depression.  I'm no mental health professional, cod knows, but I wonder if self-diagnosis might be a little imprecise.  Maybe you just got laid off, or watched a particularly depressing Lifetime movie, or ate some bad cottage cheese.  (You can't tell with cottage cheese, it always tastes like compost.)  The doorbell rings and instead of your Thai food or the hand sanitizer you ordered a month ago, it's somebody who wants to collect census information.  How many children still live with you or bring you their laundry?  Do you identify as European, Caucasian, White or Other?  Do you have a nagging sense of non-specific dread?  What do you think, Census Person?

Anyone who is not depressed is not paying attention.

Trump is right!  Voting by mail is liable to fraud.  A postal worker in West Virginia was caught changing party preferences on ballot applications from Democratic to Republican.  Last July a Republican operative in North Carolina was charged with fraud in a get-out-the-vote move.  I'm confused -- it sounds like Joe Biden should be the one complaining about corruption here.

Instead, Trump is still shit-raging about all the illegal ballots being illegally sent out to illegals in California (which he lost bigly), only this time there's pushback.  Twitter still lacks the gumption to close his account, or even that of his lapdog Rubio, but it does append a link inviting readers to "Get the facts about mail-in ballots."  The nerve!  Treating a documented liar like a documented liar.  Naturally he's even more apoplectic about that, so expect an added link that says something like "Get the facts about the First Amendment."  I think Trump should boycott Twitter.  That would show them.

As we close in on 100,000 dead, the CDC has more good news:  the Covid antibody test is wrong about half the time.  If only we knew which half.

When does Trump need a "very full report" instead of sharing what his "gut" tells him?  When reporters ask him about the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.  The mayor dismissed four officers and called for at least one to be charged, but Trump's attitude can be understood from this gem in 2017, a speech calling on police to "not be too nice" with suspects, ha ha.  We learned today that Mr. Floyd was arrested for resembling someone who may have passed a counterfeit bill in a deli, so not really a desperate character.  Maybe black people should just stop looking like one another, which confuses the police.  A demonstration last night in Minneapolis was broken up with stun grenades and tear gas, just as the armed uprisings of white covidiots in Lansing were not.

Depressed yet?  Here's another one for Minnesota:  Trump is pushing the MyPillow guy to run for governor in 2022.  Two words to make the laughter die in your mouth:  Jesse Ventura.

India and China have moved troops to their Himalayan border.  This posturing by two nuclear powers is the ninth most-read story in the Guardian, well behind a review of a Netflix series about Jeffrey Epstein.

The newest Senator Kelly Loeffler will not be investigated any further by the Justice Department for insider trading.  Or to put that in Rightzish, she has been totally exonerated.  The joyous news came just as her husband Jeff Sprecher's million dollar check to America First Action (Trump) cleared.  As I recall, the Constitution spells out two impeachable offenses (treason and bribery) and leaves the rest (high crimes and misdemeanors) to the imagination.  Covered!

Larry Kramer, playwright and activist in the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, has died of pneumonia at 84.  Who will be the Kramer of covid?  He wanted people to get angry about needless suffering and death.  I'm angry enough to make a suggestion.  Every fool who won't wear a mask and even attacks people who do needs an indelible mark -- a tattoo, a microchip -- so he won't get a ventilator when the time comes.  For you, Larry.

We all know who the real victim of this global pandemic is, and it is Donald J. Trump.  Everyone let him down, even Melania.  Read Gabriel Sherman and --- get angry.  Anger is better than depression.  Larry Kramer taught us that.  Why didn't the Census ask if we're angry?
















The fog

A vortex of crazy has been detected in the Southeast.  Prepare to evacuate when orders are given.

CNN sent Natasha Chen to report on beachgoers Saturday.  On Tybee Island, Georgia, she and the mayor were harassed for wearing facemasks.  Chen traveled up the coast to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where another fool yelled an ethnic slur and blamed her for causing the pandemic.  He requested that she leave "his" country.  Chen was born in California.

Another female reporter, Gaynor Hall of WGN-TV, was on air when she was grabbed by a man who yelled, "Fuck her right in the pussy!"  Evidently a Trump tribute act.

The vortex also manifested in Frankfort, Kentucky, where Governor Andy Beshear was hanged in effigy by some Memorial Day celebrants who disagreed with his coronavirus policies.  Wimps.  This guy in  North Carolina has offered to kill anyone who makes him mask up.  And this guy in New Mexico, a Republican county commissioner, concurs.

Joe and Jill Biden laid a wreath at a cemetery in Delaware yesterday, and both wore face masks.  Over at Fox, Brit Hume and Terry "Get a Brain" Moran decided this was as ridiculous as Michael Dukakis that one time he put on a helmet and climbed into a tank.  Of course, millions of other Americans were not wearing helmets that day, and thousands had not died of Covid, but they still found it hilarious.  Because pandemics are funny as hell.

Trump says he is all finished with his course of "hydroxychloroquine" and now wants something else to take.  At a press conference to announce Medicare changes (and court the older voters who are having second thoughts), it suddenly occurred to him:  "I don't use insulin.  Should I be?  Huh?  I never thought about it."  When he finds out you have to inject it, he'll be on to another miracle elixir that does not require ouchies.

Maybe Biden needs insulin.  He has been diagnosed with the dementia shuffle by some medical experts at Gateway Pundit.  You remember them -- they warned five years ago of Hillary Clinton's impending death.  Or was it her alien baby?  Anyway, it might distract from Trump's inability to balance his bone spurs on his shoe lifts and stand still for ten seconds.  The resemblance to Hitchcock is becoming more pronounced.

Where will the vortex appear next?  The RNC is shopping for a convention venue that won't be in "Shutdown mood" come August and Brian Kemp was first in the door, promising that Georgia would love to host thousands of virus-carriers from all over the country, no tests, no masks, no problem!  Help us burn an effigy of Anthony Fauci  in front of the CDC.  Y'all come!