Monday, November 20, 2017

Serious business

All right, now they're just fucking with us.

This gang are masters of distraction, and the media take the bait.  While they moan about kneeling football players or snipe at some celebrity, we're not supposed to notice the grave crimes against the planet and its people committed, mainly behind closed doors, every day.  Look over there!  Hillary took all our uranium and sold it to Russia to finance her slave colonies on Mars!  Why is nobody holding hearings?  And by the time we patiently explain that Because it's bullshit, there are three more.  So when Carter Page showed up for his rendezvous with the Senate Intelligence Committee in this egregiously silly hat, you could be sure that we were supposed to not look at this:  

1.  The Keystone XL Pipeline has leaked over 210,000 gallons of oil into the soil and water of South Dakota.

2.  There was a military coup in Zimbabwe.

3.  The House has passed Trump's Screw the Middle Class tax bill, and the Senate wants to piggyback yet another ACA repeal onto it, for additional screwage.

4.  The contract to provide security at the US Embassy in Moscow, and consulates in three other cities, has gone to Elite Security Holdings, run by retired Gen. Viktor Budanov.  He was Vladimir Putin's boss when he was head of KGB counterintelligence.  Why not just leave the key under the mat?  Now I can't wait to find out what the Russians have on Trump.

5.  The corruption trial of Sen. Robert Menendez ended in a hung jury, with 10-2 favoring acquittal.

6.  Six Democratic Congressmen have introduced articles of impeachment.  No, not against Hillary, though apparently there are people who think that would Make America Great Again.

7.  Carbon emissions are increasing for the first time in three years.  More beautiful clean coal!

Image result for conway inauguration outfit

Ah!  It's the hat Kellyann Conway wore to the inauguration, with her Trump University marching band uniform.  Who gets to wear it to the Flynn trial?

So long, and thanks for all the covfefe

Apparently we're supposed to Give Thanks for things at this time of year.  Can I think about it?

LiAngelo Ball and two of his UCLA basketball teammates were arrested for stealing a pair of sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store in Hangzhou, China.  This was a remarkably stupid thing to do, I think we can all agree.  Trump happened to be in China shortly thereafter, on his "most expensive geography lesson of all time" tour, and is claiming credit for getting them sprung.  Anyway, they thanked him, but apparently not fervently enough.  Then Ball's father LaVar, described by Charlie Pierce as "America's most insufferable sports parent" (I bow to his expertise, knowing little of these things), got involved, claiming that it was no big deal and he has seen far worse things than shoplifting.  This display of uppityness was too much for Trump, who can never let anyone else have the last word.  "I should have left them in jail!" he thumb-thundered.  (Actually the three roundballers were confined to a rather nice hotel.)  That was Saturday.  On Sunday Marshawn Lynch of the Raiders sat out the national anthem and earned himself another tweeter-lashing.  So Trump can be thankful for several different black people to verbally abuse in a single weekend.

Today Jeff Flake denounced Roy "Hello baby" Moore, and was tagged with the clever nickname "Jeff Flake(y)," which I'm pretty sure nobody ever thought of before, especially in grade school.  And there's more bad news about Al Franken, so it's shaping up to be quite a happy holiday for Donny.  His lawyer, Ty Cobb, keeps assuring him that Robert Mueller's investigation is hours away from clearing him and indicting, I don't know, Hillary or Susan Rice or Loretta Lynch or whatever it takes to keep him quiet and happy.  In the real world, where White House staffers greet each other with "Good morning, are you wired?" not so much.  Any day now, Jared will decide he's too pretty to go to prison and make a deal.  That will be the day Twitter crashes.

Tomorrow Trump is scheduled to pardon a turkey.  The bird damn well better be grateful, or he stars in a Sarah Palin video.

All right, I've got it now.  I give thanks that Jacqueline Onassis is not here to see how tacky the White House has become.  She worked so hard on it, and now it looks like some shitty Trump hotel.  She will never walk into the Oval Office and see a grotesque Macys parade balloon in an ill-fitting suit, its lobster-bib tie anchored by a wad of Scotch tape, gobbling a Quarter Pounder.  It's bad enough to be spattered with your husband's brains without having to see that behind his desk.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

No excuse

It was eleven  years ago.  You were a professional comedian doing something altruistic, touring with the USO.  You didn't hold public office then.  She was over 21.  She works for Fox News now.  It only happened once.

No excuse, Senator Franken.  Or as someone wrote over at Wonkette, "Et tu, Al?"

You apologized.  You didn't deny.  Nobody tried to brush it away by claiming Biblical license (in  your case I'd go with randy old King David), or calling Leeann Tweeden a liar, or saying it happened because you were a Democrat then.  You yourself called for an investigation by the ethics panel, but it's no excuse for "aggressively" putting your tongue in her mouth.

You have been on the right side of every issue.  You don't set up as a policer of other people's private lives.  If you lumbered onstage with a silly hat and an itty-bitty gun, we'd know it was a comedy bit.  And gosh darn it, we liked you.  

Your constituents will be the final arbiters.  Barney Frank overcame the prostitute scandal, and plenty of New Yorkers would like to see Eliot Spitzer run again.  In a few weeks we'll know if Alabamans want to be represented by "the Don Juan of Cinnabon" (again, thanks, Charlie).  Nobody's perfect, but the double standard requires that you good guys be less imperfect than the others.

So shape up.  Please.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Senior moment

Image: Kevin Neal

Why would you not sell this American a semi-automatic rifle and a couple of handguns?

First he terrorized his neighbors by firing hundreds of practice rounds.

Yesterday he drove to an elementary school, but the doors were locked.  So he drove around Rancho Tehama Reserve, California, shooting people at random, killing four before the police killed him.

Today his wife's body was discovered under the floorboards of their house.

Obviously jet-lagged and one mass murder behind, the president* (thanks, Charlie) tweeted this yesterday:  "May God be with the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas.  The FBI and Law Enforcement has [sic] arrived."

Only last week Trump was whining because the North Korean news agency called him a "lunatic old man."  It was "old" he objected to, threatening massive retaliation by calling Kim "short and fat."  (Height is an obsession of Trump's, and he does not seem to realize how fat he is.)  "Old" stepped on his massive vanity.  I think he should embrace it.

For a start, he could drop the daily Propecia, which has resulted in growing only a bizarre crop of fuzz on his scalp.  The side effects -- sniffing, dizziness, insomnia, impotence -- are not worth it.  Not to mention the time he must spend having the fuzz dyed lemon yellow, which fools nobody.

As the Russia investigation comes to a climax, more and more of his relatives and courtiers will be taking cover behind the "I can't recall" defense, extensively employed by Jeff Sessions in his latest perjurython at the Capitol.  There is no reason Trump shouldn't join them, despite his boast of having "one of the greatest memories of all time."  After all, if you're senile, you might not remember how bad your memory is.  Doubly effective!  Forgot the Alzheimer's, forgot the collusion!  Who exactly is this Flynn guy?  Where is Russia?

Trump's approval rating, even measured by Fox State News, hasn't approached forty percent in months.  If he began to wander around Washington in a bathrobe and flip-flops, stopping strangers to inquire about, say, a lost kitten, he could be as beloved as Ronald Reagan when he was drifting into the sunset, i.e., his entire second term.  Grandpa Don, of course, won't have a second term.  Surely invoking 25 would be the compassionate thing to do, with minimal political consequences for his gutless Cabinet of Blunders.  All the lies and idiotic statements of the past two years would be chalked up to "the old boy's eggs are coddled."  The Republicans could crawl out from under him and avoid, perhaps, another rout like last week's.  Mitch, are you reading this?

Seventy-one is officially old.  Make it work for all of us.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I need a laugh


Fortunately, there is plenty of news for those with a twisted sense of humor.

Whitefish Energy (you remember them) billed FEMA $319 per hour for each lineman working in Puerto Rico, but paid them only $63.  Which was generous, because the work they did was crap -- the section of San Juan they repaired promptly crashed again.  Most of the island is still in darkness.

"Every time [Vladimir Putin] sees me he says, 'I didn't do that.'  And I really believe that when he tells me that he means it," Trump blushed and simpered after his tryst with VVP in Vietnam.  Because the Russian dictator who has his critics murdered is inherently more trustworthy than the political hacks at the CIA, the NSA and the FBI, not to mention Robert Mueller who is totally a Democrat.  When not canoodling, Donzo asked Vietnamese president Nguyen Xuan Phuc to buy lotsa American weapons because he needs a "quick win" before the 2020 election.  (If not, there could be a witty tweet making fun of his name.)  That retching sound from John McCain's office may or may not be a reaction to chemotherapy.

A former pharmaceutical executive has been nominated to be Secretary of Health and Human Services.  What could go wrong?

Trouble in paradise:  Republican sugar daddy Sheldon Adelson has declined to appear in public with Steve Bannon and is snuggling closer to Mitch "Deep State" McConnell.  Bannon hates McConnell almost as much as he hates Jews.  Oh, I think I get it now.

Ivanka Trump wants the Congress to hurry and pass Daddy's "Tax Cut Cut Cut Bill" so that all families will be able to afford a Mandarin tutor like the one she hired to teach the Trumplings.  If I could make this stuff up, I would be working for The Onion.

Joaquin Guzman Loera, better known as El Chapo, is not allowed to have a Bible in his cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Center (Manhattan) because it might contain coded messages.  What's that, evangelical Christians?  I can't hear you.

To rent a venue at the University of Florida for his mass meeting, white nationalist Richard Spencer sent a check for ten thousand dollars and change.  It bounced.  Before you take over America, you might want to learn to balance a checking account, dick.

We found out this week that Alabama has the best judges, and the tradition continues:  Trump has nominated Brett J. Talley to the federal district court in Montgomery, despite the fact that he has never tried a case; forgot to mention on his questionnaire that his wife is a lawyer in the White House; was rated "not qualified" by the U.S. Bar Association; and -- wait for it -- spends his spare time looking for ghosts, as part of the Tuscaloosa Paranormal Research Group.  None of this disturbed the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who have already approved him for the lifetime appointment.  (And maybe afterlife, too --- woooowoowooo!)

I saved the best for last:  Julian Assange wants Trump's support in becoming Australia's ambassador to the United States.  "I love WikiLeaks!" Trump shouted last year, before remembering that he never heard of it.  Congratulations, Julian, you win the Brass Chutzpah.  With bronze oak leaf palm.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Free Anthony Weiner!

Well, thank you.  I can't watch Casablanca anymore.  It's no longer a classic romance of three people whose problems don't amount to a hill of beans in a world torn by war, fighting back against fascism, cynicism and despair.  With Ingrid Bergman, the most beautiful woman who ever stepped in front of a camera.  No, now it's the story of a powerful man, a prefect of police, who demands sex from attractive, desperate women in exchange for exit visas.  And no amount of Claude Rains's charm can make that go away.  Louis Renault is the Harvey Weinstein of French Morocco.  Also, the treatment of Sam is kind of racist, but that's for another day.

It's not news that men are pigs, but the scope of the problem is boggling.  Every day there are fresh accusations and multiple complainants.  The acts run the gamut from rape to fondling to hey-look-at-this masturbation to the new crime of digital flashing, i.e., "sexting" someone a picture of your genitals.  Naturally, the guy who did that is in prison, while the rest are still among us, along with their astonishing defenders.  And the worst part is, I didn't originally despise them all.  Some of them I never heard of.

The most egregious and shameless offender is Roy "Ten Commandments" Moore, the would-be senator from Alabama.  The Washington Post published an exhaustively sourced story about his abuse, nearly forty years ago, of a 14-year-old and three others, and even the Republican Party is divided about its response (today Mitch McConnell called for him to drop out).   Among the scumbags defending him, no surprise, are Steve Bannon and some radio clown called Wayne Allyn Root, whose argument is that the teenagers "could have passed for 20" (were you there?).  Also, "Where are the women Hillary's dated all these years?...I've heard rumors about Bathhouse Barry" (he means Obama).  When you have to change the subject by sharing your own lurid fantasies, Wayne Allyn, it's time for that CT scan you've been putting off.  Sean Hannity is another loud defender of statutory rape, which has cost him sponsors and sparked one of the more hilarious "boycotts," as Rightzis destroy their Keurig coffeemakers in a display of ... let's go with stupidity.  And Judge Roy himself has borrowed a technique from Trump and threatened to sue his accusers, brave women who still live in Alabama.  Liars, politically motivated, crazy, all of the above.

At the other end of my personal spectrum, Louis CK, what the fuck?  At least he has admitted to making women watch him jerk off.  Since simulated masturbation is part of his HBO special Shameless, we've all had to watch him, I guess.  Wanking is a private act, like praying.  (Exactly like praying.)  What's the attraction of an audience?  I will never understand this.  But I'm proud of him for owning it, especially as it has affected the release of his movie, disturbingly titled I Love You, Daddy.  What can I say?  He makes me laugh, part of an ever-diminishing group of people who do.  I won't bail on him.

We have arrived back at the old argument about whether it's possible to detach the art from the artist, to enjoy the work of people who do (did) awful things.  It has raged for years around everyone from Roman Polanski and Frank Sinatra to Ezra Pound and Herbert von Karajan, but Exhibit A is always Richard Wagner -- adulterer, grifter, half-assed revolutionary, racist, anti-Semite, and without question the greatest composer of the nineteenth century.  Can you separate the work from the man, or must you deny yourself a potentially life-changing experience?  If not yet, when?  If Leonardo did get in trouble over his relationship with a young male model, when can we look at his paintings again?  Will Kevin Spacey have to wait five hundred years?*

I feel like we are on the verge of a new blacklist, with sexual misbehavior in place of liberal politics. Instead of naming names, its subjects will have to enter rehab for "sex addiction" and apologize tearfully on television.  (It beats touring in Darkness at Noon, I guess.)  Will all of them be men?  Probably.  Men have had license to act swinishly for ten thousand years, more or less, and that's not going away.  Look, there are powerful women in entertainment and public life; while they may abuse the help (like Leona Helmsley and Martha Stewart), it's rarely sexual.  If Oprah has been sexually harassing people, she must be having them killed, too.  If Ruth Bader Ginsberg made prospective clerks drop their trousers, there would be talk, not to mention outraged shrieks for her impeachment from self-appointed moralizers like Roy Moore.  If Hillary -- well, hell, they just make up shit about Hillary (see above).

Reading over this, it seems a little heartless.  Maybe the incessant drumbeat of "bad touch" has brought out my oversexed sarcastic side (see what I did there?).  Maybe I just don't like self-pity.  I remember Beverly Sills long ago (on Dick Cavett's show) talking about getting felt up by Leopold Stokowski and then by Pablo Casals, both in their eighties, while sitting in a box at a gala.  She thought it was the funniest thing in the world, and so did Cavett.  In a lifetime of real hardship (cancer, two children with serious birth defects, Rudolf Bing), she was the least self-pitying of women.  I miss that.

Anyway, can we agree that this is a win-win for Democrats?  If Doug Jones is elected to the Senate -- and there is at least a realistic possibility now -- it will be a victory for the man who put the last two 16th Street Baptist Church bombers in prison and a defeat for Bannon, Trump's Rudolf Hess.  If Moore wins, the Republicans can spend six years explaining away a child molester whose malignity will be neutralized by ninety-nine other senators.  Happy days are hardly here again, but it's a start.

All I ask is that the next sordid revelations not involve Mister Rogers.

*Spacey's scenes in a forthcoming movie are being re-shot with Christopher Plummer.  Will no one stop these Canadians from taking American jobs?

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

So much winning

This is a photograph of Braxton Winston, taken at a demonstration on September 20, 2016, to protest the police killing of Keith Lamont Scott.  Yesterday the Black Lives Matter activist was elected to the City Council of Charlotte, North Carolina.  Let it stand for all the electoral defeats handed to Donald John Trump and his fellow racist thugs.

It's almost too rich a banquet to consume.  The main course was served in Virginia, where Ralph Northam resoundingly defeated Ed Gillespie for governor.  Immediately the Orange One and his Trumpanzees identified the problem:  Gillespie was not racist and homophobic enough.  Really? Twitter now gives you 480 characters to play with and that's all you've got?  Don't expect more, because poor Gillespie is now DEAD TO HIM!  From New Jersey to Maine to...Helena, Montana (!), voters sent a message:
Woman fired after flipping off Trump's motorcade
Dessert also comes from Virginia:  Danica Roem, a transgender reporter running as a Democratic Socialist, defeated Bob Marshall, Republican whip of the state House of Representatives.

Larry Krasner, a civil rights lawyer, is the new district attorney of Philadelphia.

African Americans were elected mayor of Milledgeville, Georgia and St. Paul, Minnesota.

As Charlie Pierce put it, "Diversity and inclusion had their revenge."

I need a Bromo.


Sorry to hear about the death of Roy Halladay, a great pitcher and, by all accounts, a good guy.  (He appeared in a PSA for #ItGetsBetter while with the Phillies.)  I wish baseball players would stop trying to fly their own planes.


Tuesday, November 07, 2017

I am a terrible person

 Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's the caffeine.  Maybe I'm just hollowed out by this terrible year.  Did anybody else hear about the Sutherland Springs massacre and think, "Well, twenty-plus fewer Trump voters"?  No, just me.  I am dead inside.

We know why it happened.  According to "Judge" Andy Napolitano, it's extremely easy to buy a gun in Texas.  Rupert Murdoch pays him good money for these insights.  But that's not why, that's how.

Why?  Because there's really no point in trying to pass gun-restricting laws because "Laws don't work."  That is a direct quote from Ken Paxton.  It seems like a strange position for an attorney general, which is the job Paxton does in Austin every day.  Texans elect their attorney general, so I suppose they know what they want.

Devin Kelley, America's newest mass murderer, was taking anti-depressants.  I'm not sure how Pat Robertson came by this information, but he's satisfied that it explains all the killing.

When Kelley was kicked out of the Air Force (for assaulting his wife and fracturing the skull of her baby son) he should have been entered in the "don't sell this man an assault rifle for the love of god" database, but some clerk messed up.  THANKS, OBAMA!

The secular left is dividing America, according to Paul Ryan.  Not really relevant, he just wanted to get it out there.  I suspect Kelley was not a Mother Jones subscriber, but I guess he could have been triggered by the failure of the Antifa uprising on Saturday to materialize.  (Full disclosure:  I was disappointed, too.)  Ryan, who I am almost certain grew from a maggot which escaped from the grave of Joe McCarthy, is the NRA's greediest Congressional whore.  He sends thoughts and prayers.

Fuck, everybody sends thoughts and prayers!  Do you need a list?  What better place to be blown to pieces than in a church?  Even the pastor says so, when he isn't contemplating his ruined building.

Despite his full beard, Kelley was not a terrorist.  That's a load off.  He was insane, or evil, or both, but not even slightly Islamic.  The real hero was the civilian who shot him to death, a classic Good Guy With a Gun.  Of course, now we can't ask him if he was crazy or evil or just angry at his ex-mother-in-law, who was among the dead.  Hang on.....

Insane, evil, now don't bother Trump when he's in Asia struggling to get a decent hamburger.  He makes so...many...sacrifices!