Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Wiping the slate

Well, it appears that Mike Pompeo has his very own BENGHAZIIIII!  Demonstrators are storming the US Embassy in Baghdad over last week's bombing, Trump is spraining his little thumbs blaming Iran and everyone else but himself, and it looks like Jared Kushner's plan to sort out the Middle East has hit a snag.  In other words, everything is normal.

Does pancreatic cancer ever get diagnosed before Stage Four?  It seems like there should be more effective tests and earlier detection by now.  The news about Rep. John Lewis was exactly the note to round out this appalling year.  I remember when John McCain's brain cancer was announced and the supportive messages he got from one-time opponents like Barack Obama.  I can picture Obama's successor hearing about Lewis and allowing a grin to suffuse his fat face as he unwrapped a Quarter Pounder, then reached for his unsecured phone to re-tweet another conspiracy theory.  A real class act.

He should also take the credit for a sixteen-year high in hate crimes.  There has never been a time when it was easy and safe to be a Jew but the Hanukkah violence in and around New York City was particularly shocking.  Some gentiles didn't help, like Rachel Campos-Duffy, who decided it was the right moment to tell Fox viewers how oppressed Christians are.  Or Ken Cuccinelli, who announced with no evidence that Monsey sword-attack suspect Grafton Thomas was the son of an "illegal alien."  Neither mentioned Trump, who invites anti-Semitic preachers to his Hanukkah party and proclaims Holocaust Remembrance Day with no reference to Jews.  I'm afraid Bret Stephens's celebration of the allegedly high IQ of the Ashkenazi could not have come at a worse time, but the New York Times abandoned its editorial duties long ago.   Maybe it's time for Newsday to resume publishing a city edition.

I'm trying not to make too much of the announcement that a museum of journalism in Washington is closing.  Perhaps it's just the silly name, Newseum.  And there are so many other museums in that city, with more dignified names.  Besides, unless you read five papers as day -- not even an option for most people -- it sounds about as compelling as a library of high school yearbooks.

The US population growth rate is the lowest in a century.  The right solution:  welcome immigrants who want to work and raise their children here.  The wrong solution:  more insane laws forcing women and girls to have babies they don't want and can't care for.

Maybe people would be less depressed and suicidal at this darkest (astronomically speaking) time of the year if we weren't assailed with commercials featuring pitiful animals, sick children and damaged veterans.  I know, last day to make your contribution and get a tax deduction but give us a break.  My mail box is a directory of organizations that do good stuff, my credit cards are wincing.  How about a day of amnesty, folks?  Nag us again on January 2.

I just remembered something.  There used to be a volunteer neighborhood watch in parts of Brooklyn called the Jewish Defense League (later Organization), patterned after the Guardian Angels.  At the time I was uncomfortable with this kind of vigilantism, but now it seems like a necessity.  Does the JDO still exist?

First Joe Biden said he would ignore a subpoena to testify in the impeachment trial, then he changed his mind.  Biden also said he would consider a Republican running mate and I haven't heard that he's come to his senses on that one.  How is this befuddled old man the front-runner?  What Republican could he be thinking of, Edward Brooke?  Jacob Javits?  Bad news, Joe...

Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (it's how he identifies) has close family who don't talk to him much less vote for him, but he's not one to hold a grudge.  He decided we all needed to be reminded of the time a light fixture fell near Hillary Clinton and Bill gallantly and heroically pulled her out of the way.   At this time of year, it's good to remember the...what?  He did?  He thought if he played it over and over, the light would crush her skull?  (Like horny teenagers who looped the shower scene in Psycho hoping for a glimpse of Janet Leigh's breasts?)  Well, that's sick.  And Joe?  There's a whole party like this guy (he's a dentist...and a success!).  Help yourself.

Happy birthday, Barbara Pinkney!  The cops kicked in your door, tased you, then arrested you for committing battery on them and obstructing justice.  I hope my seventieth birthday is a little less exciting and a little more Fourth Amendment.

I will now continue ignoring Cats, Little Women, and everything to do with Star Wars.  Good night and good luck.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Truth and consequences

The first reality star of television died this year, almost unnoticed.  Charles Van Doren was 93 and had lived mostly out of the media glare for half a century.  Today people know of him mostly from Robert Redford's 1994 film Quiz Show.  For a few months in the 1950s he was America's idea of a public intellectual.  He seemed to know absolutely everything and proved it each week on a game show called Twenty-one (think Jeopardy! with more nail-biting suspense and an isolation booth).  He earned vast amounts of 1950s money and appeared on the cover of Time before his run finally ended, and then NBC hired him to read poetry on The Today Show (think The View with less squabbling and a chimp).  He was young, handsome, WASPy and smart, and his parents and uncle wrote the kind of books noticed by the Pulitzer committee as well as the Book-of-the-Month Club.

It was all a lie.  The producers regularly supplied him with the answers, as they did other contestants for as long as America tuned in to see them.  When the news broke, it was so shocking that a Congressional investigation ensued; legislation to regulate game shows was even suggested.  Nothing came of it because, after all, it was just entertainment.  But Van Doren was finished, fired by both NBC and Columbia University, where he taught literature.   He wrote several books and a New Yorker article about his involvement in the fraud.

America was enraged in proportion to its former love affair, angry at having been conned.  Unfortunately,  America failed to hand its anger down to its children and grandchildren, millions of whom voted for a far more sinister TV faker.  In the film, Congressional investigator Richard Goodwin says ruefully, "We thought we were going to get television.  But television got us."  So it did.

Friday, December 27, 2019


Bad weather, cancelled flight, Aunt Marcy yacketing about how Joe Biden causes earthquakes, turkey so dry they could use it for the Dead Sea Scrolls, not nearly enough liquor in the house -- you think you had a lousy Christmas?

Trump had a whole lousy year, despite being recognized as the Chosen One and playing many rounds of golf which would make Arnold Palmer weep with envy.   He failed in his task of getting Russia re-admitted to the G7.  (Nobody wants to get that call from Putin:  "You had one job!")  He found out he can't repeal the Fourteenth Amendment by executive order.  He lost a good friend when Hillary murdered Jeffrey Epstein.  She also called down rain to ruin his July 4 "Salute To America" festivities.  He almost had to see a vessel in his personal Navy called John McCain (it's named for the senator's father, an admiral, but it still would have made him feel bad).  He was booed at the World Series.  NATO still exists, although he made NAFTA change its name.  Another woman accused him of rape, although she's clearly "not my type."   Ruth Bader Ginsburg refused to die.  A Fox News poll showed half the respondents wanted him impeached.  He got impeached.  Some Swedish brat was Time's Person of the Year instead of him.  Kim Jong-un writes beautiful letters but keeps testing missiles -- he promised.  And still no Nobel Peace Prize.

The crowning insult came when he learned that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is part of the Deep State.  They cut his magnificent cameo performance from the film Home Alone 2:  Lost In New York when it was shown on the CBC.  They claim to have done this in 2014 to make time for more commercials (I've never seen it but I understand there are many cameos), but Trump knows it was a petty act of spite by Justin Trudeau for "making him pay up on NATO or Trade!") because a year before Trudeau became prime minister, he was working as a petty spite censor at the CBC.  You may be young, brilliant and dishy, Justin, but don't even think you can take Trump down when it comes to pettiness and spite.  He invented them, eh?

For example, when not whining about Canadian television he tweeted a link to the name of the hated Whistleblower, praised Jon Voight's work in Ray Donovan, signed off on more unqualified bigots that Moscow Mitch found for the federal courts, spread more unhinged conspiracy theories, restored the rank of war criminal/Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher (who may be kicked out anyway because non-criminal SEALs call him "toxic" and "freaking evil"), and admonished "Crazy Nancy" Pelosi to "clean up her filthy dirty District & help the homeless there."  A good day's work?  No, the greatest day's work in history.

And what does the future hold?  Maybe more impeachments.  More broken promises from that "very smart cookie" Kim Jong-un.  More stupid mean leaders laughing about him.  That State of the Union thing he has to read while standing up for a really long time in front of all those traitors.  Not nearly enough Hatesapalooza campaign events to soothe his perpetual sense of emptiness and victimhood.  Why do we need elections anyway?  What exactly is this "constitution" they keep talking about?   Why can't the best president of all time find a lawyer, one lawyer, who remembers to zip his fly?

You heard the lady.  Fasten your seatbelts.  The night's about to get even bumpier.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

News you can't use

If I didn't read the Guardian, I would never have known about the QC who clubbed a fox to death while hung over and wearing his wife's green kimono.  Of course, they wouldn't have known about it if the idiot hadn't bragged about it on Twitter.  Junior Trump, ball's in your court.

Elsewhere in today's paper, residents of a significant portion of Edinburgh have been told they will have to apply for permission to enter their own homes on New Year's Eve because a private company called Underbelly (in conjunction with Johnnie Walker) is throwing a Hogmanay street festival.  If householders wish to host their own parties, well, that gets complicated.  Aren't you glad you don't live in Times Square?

No, Ruslan Shaveddinov is not another sketchy client of Giuliani's, he's an anti-Putin activist who vanished from his Moscow flat and wound up on an air force base in the Arctic.  The Cheka authorities say he's a draft dodger.

There's a golf course in Florida atop a burial ground for slaves, and Trump doesn't own it.  At the Capital City Country Club in Tallahassee, indentations in the seventh fairway have now been identified as graves (there may be more) and not just obstacles to play.  No one is sure what to do about the site on the old Houstoun plantation.

Jair Bolsonaro fell and hit his head, and says he is having memory problems.  Sure, if that's your story...

Boris Johnson's version of Trump's Tortilla Curtain is a proposal to build a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland.  Naturally, according to BloJo, the European Union will pay for it.  When he stopped laughing, the taoiseach said he'd think about it, and also, no, they wouldn't.

I'm just going to quote the opening line:  "A homeless woman gave birth to premature twins while sleeping rough outside Cambridge University's wealthiest college."

That kind of morphed from Monty Python to Edward Bond, didn't it?  Happy New Year unless you live in Edinburgh.

Happy Boxing Day

How can the Bloomberg "campaign" afford to keep going?  Like this.  The one form of slavery exempted from the Thirteenth Amendment.

Night at the Museum, only $500.  If Hopper had wanted this he would have painted a bathroom.  The miniature golf is a joke, I assume.

Some of America's future voters took the Jack Flickinger challenge in Minneapolis.

Christmas is over in the West, but the Orthodox Church is just getting started.  These icons of Stalin
are showing up in churches all over Russia.  There are calls to make him an official saint, like "Bloody" Nicholas II.  We should beImage result for stalin icon paying more attention to this as long as Putin runs the US through his stooge Trump, who is equally a focus of worship for fundamentalists.

Not all of them.  Mark Galli's editorial in Christianity Today continues to trouble the waters.  Napp Nazworth (I thought of Lord Buckley too) resigned from the Christian Post over its continued support for Messiah 2.0.  He and Galli, who is also at liberty, should get together and start their own denomination, which is what Protestants do at the slightest doctrinal disagreement.  Meanwhile I assume the Trumpanzees have drawn on their Nike playbook and purchased subscriptions to Christianity Today so they can cancel them.

Not that Nike was impressed by their complaints.  Its new Air Force 1 shoe, featuring the face of Colin Kaepernick, sold out in a day.  (Phil Knight had sweatshops all over the underdeveloped world humming right through Christmas.)

Anyway, Boxing Day.  When the upper classes would box up their leftovers and give them to the servants.  Bon appetit.  To the barricades!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Last minute shopping

Olivia Nuzzi sat down for drinks with Rudolph Giuliani and brought back this entertaining interview.  Now I'm sorry I didn't get her anything.

Barneys New York store is in its final days.  This will be good news for my old friend Carl, who bought his clothes there when it was a working-class discount place (I said old friend).  One day he walked in and was greeted by deafening music and a supercilious salesman who looked him over and said, "I think you want our Omar Room."  (A size-ist slur, not a racist one.  The store's problems with racism would come later.)   Carl left and never returned.  Found one of those places that euphemistically cater to "big and tall men."  The official reason for the closing is a gasp-inducing rent increase of the kind that have driven so many retailers (and people) from so many cities.  Apparently the influencers, or whatever they're called, buy their clothes online.  I thought that was just for people like me, who dress for comfort and warmth.  Evidently it's also for people who like waiting for the UPS driver to pick up the inevitable returns, or worry about being assaulted in a dressing room by a depraved developer.

Are there any big stores left in Manhattan?  B. Altman and Arnold Constable are libraries.  (How do they swing the rent?)  Gimbels is long gone.  Coliseum Books may be a Burger King.  Record stores, where I spent so much time and money, are history.  The Record Hunter should have been preserved as a museum.   The Strand must be the last of the second-hand bookstores, once the pride of Fourth Avenue.   Remember Samuel Weiser's occult bookshop?  I'll be getting phlegmy soon.  Please tell me Scribner's elegant quarters on Fifth Avenue is still a book store at least.  I never thought I was quite good enough to climb that staircase, but the poetry was on the upper level.

I don't know what brought this on.  I hate shopping, crowds, and shopping in crowds.  Maybe it was seeing B. Altman again, lovingly re-created for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.  Maybe it's the inescapable Miracle On Thirty-fourth Street, a not-even-thinly disguised commercial for Macys before the parade was focused on big dumb balloons and shivering dancers from Broadway.  Any minute now I'll be kvelling over the pastrami at Wolf's Deli, not quite in a class with Katz's but the best in midtown (don't speak of the Carnegie).  And meeting my Dad for dinner at Luchow's.  German food, lethal as a Panzer.  Did Aiello's Pizza ever re-open after the fire?

Enough.  I never bought chestnuts from a vendor but I loved how the smoke smelled.  What are you supposed to do with a bunch of hot chestnuts while you struggle onto a bus?  I suppose the buses cost more money than anyone wants to carry, and they don't take dollar bills.  Maybe I'll walk through the twilight and watch the lights come on.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Democracy dies in derpness

Stupid, senile, syphilitic...stroke?

"We'll have an economy based on wind.  I never understood wind.  You know, I know windmills very much.  I've studied it better than anybody I know.  It's very expensive.  They're made in China and Germany mostly -- very few made here, almost none.  But they're manufactured tremendous -- if you're into this -- tremendous fumes.  Gases are spewing into the atmosphere.  You know we have a world, right?  So the world is tiny compared to the universe.  So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything.  You talk about the carbon footprint -- fumes are spewing into the air.  Right?  Spewing.  Whether it's in China, Germany, it's going into the air.  It's our air, their air, everything -- right?"

No one has been this fixated on windmills since Don Quixote.  Cervantes tells us Alonso Quijano's derangement stemmed from reading too many books, clearly not Trump's problem.   Pinpointing the cerebral event which caused this will be a task for doctors and pathologists who are not subject to military discipline, and I'm just an amateur literary critic.

Give it its due, though.  One day the Speech to the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit (do you suppose it was the name "Turning Point" that led to the windmill rant?) will be mined for book titles just as the Gettysburg Address has been:

I Never Understood Wind:  The Poetry of the Second Civil War

You Know We Have a World, Right?  21st Century Climate Change and the Collapse of Civilization

I Know Windmills Very Much:  Growing Up In the Shadow of Trump and Putin

Fumes Are Spewing:  The Collected Poems of Stephen Miller

An Economy Based On Wind:  How Denmark Became the Economic Engine of the West

It's poetry.  And a poem should not mean, but be.  Right?  Right?

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Wait, what?

In my seventieth year to heaven, as Dylan would say (that's Thomas, not Bob), I cope with failing faculties and sometimes wonder if I just saw what I think I saw.  It doesn't help that the line between reality and surreality, fact and satire, has all but vanished.  So I apologize if I'm wrong, but I'm almost certain I just saw a Walmart commercial that references the racist mass murder last August 3 in El Paso, when twenty-two people died for the offense of being Mexican.  The killing took place in a Walmart, so maybe that gives them...I don't know.  The right to exploit domestic terrorism in the name of commercial holiday sentimentality?  "We had to close that store for a week and clean up all the gore.  We're going to get something out of it."  Are they that cynical?  Am I?

The truth, somebody said, will set you free, but it's not necessarily good for your political career.  Scott Morrison, the prime minister of Australia, discovered this when he went ahead with his Hawaiian vacation as much of his country was battling wildfires aggravated by extreme heat and years of drought (they call it "The Big Dry").  As Morrison pointed out at a sheepish press conference upon his return, he couldn't be expected to turn a hose on the flames, but that wasn't really what angered people.  So now he has a political disaster to go with the environmental one.  If you'll accept a suggestion from a foreigner, Prime Minister, don't lie about being somewhere when people have phones and Twitter accounts.   There's no hiding place down there.  Your smug face already adorns Hawaiian shirts.

Image result for banksy scar of bethlehem

People who hated churches depicting caged Nativity figures will lose any shit they have left over Banksy's "Scar of Bethlehem."  The British (?) outlaw artist installed it in his Walled Off Hotel, with a bullet hole in place of a star to dramatize the situation of Palestinians in that city and elsewhere.  A poll reported last summer in the Sun (pick up a grain of salt as you exit through the gift shop) pronounced Banksy "Brits' favorite painter of all time," which enlists rather a lot of people in the War on Christmas.  

Fake rapper Vanilla Ice has plans to build the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library on the site of a trailer park in Palm Beach County which will probably be under water before the century is half over.  What part of that sentence doesn't make you smile?

Friday, December 20, 2019

While you were out

As the beginning of summer approaches, the average daily temperature is Australia is 104F.  Damn those Chinese and their climate hoax.

Trump's spelling now causing much hilarity at Russian news site.  Et tu, Boris?

The number of meat inspectors at the USDA has been reduced because regulation is double-plus ungood.  Meat companies will henceforth inspect themselves, which worked so well with the Boeing 737 Max.  Meanwhile, 138 E.coli cases have been linked to lettuce from Salinas, California.

Tariff wars are fun and "easy to win," but you wouldn't know it by these sometime John Deare employees in Iowa.

Trump, Netanyahu, Bolsonaro -- it's like suddenly all the far-right demagogues are being persecuted.  Prosecuted.  Whatever.

Mother of mercy, is this the end of evangelical Christianity's love affair with Trump?

Sarah Sanders tried to cheer up her old boss by making fun of Joe Biden's story about mentoring a child with a stutter.   Some people have no sense of humor.

But these folks do.  Save small newspapers!


Thursday, December 19, 2019

"Cruelty is not wit"

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice," said Martin Luther King, Jr., by way of heartening people who thought they would never see any.  Barack Obama loved it and had it woven into a rug which, I'm guessing, no longer adorns the Oval Office.   These days we use it as comfort food to get over the latest outrage to decency -- another dead child in a border concentration camp, another attack on a synagogue, another bigot enthroned for life on a federal bench.  It's our abbreviated "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and we wish the arc were shorter, the bend more pronounced.

There are days, however, that make you think maybe you can hear it curving this way.  Yes, impeachment was inevitable, I'm not talking about that.  As I have said, I fear this is just another House bill doomed to die in the Senate.  But here and there the terrible swift sword comes down hard and the results are glorious.  Like most people who don't live in Denver I had never heard of Chuck Bonniwell, apparently a famed local limbaugh.  Yesterday on "Chuck & Julie" he expressed boredom with the impeachment debate and added, "You wish for a nice school shooting to interrupt."  He was reprimanded by co-host Julie, who is also his wife, but appalled listeners were already calling KNUS, which today fired his sorry ass. (Exactly what the House is trying to do to Trump, who has said and done far worse.)  Now Chuck can have a second career whining to Tucker Carlson and Bill Maher about how political correctness destroyed his first career.

Trump chose Battle Creek, Michigan, as the venue for his first post-impeachment hate rally, and it did not go well.  The usual mob of ravening red-caps turned out but so did a sufficient number of people to hold up a large banner reading "DON THE CON, YOU'RE FIRED!"  They were of course removed -- no free speech at a Trump event -- but not before one woman showed him a middle finger, eliciting the usual dignified response.  After complaining that security didn't handle her roughly enough, he pronounced her "a real slob" and predicted, "She'll get hell when she gets back home with mom."  Very interesting, as Arte Johnson used to say.  It sounds like Mary Trump was a lot scarier than Fred when it was time to discipline her useless son.

After that things got worse.  Since he was in Michigan Trump decided to attack Rep. Debbie Dingell on her vote for impeachment.  Dingell's husband John represented the district for almost sixty years and died last February.  Trump started out with his usual self-admiring drivel about how moved the widow was when he, Trump, personally allowed flags to be lowered for the longest-serving Congressman in history.  And then the ungrateful bitch votes for that ugly thing impeachment, when clearly she owed him a favor like Bonasera owed Don Corleone.  Then it was time to go after the dead man:  "Maybe he's looking up.  I don't know.  But let's assume he's looking down.  (Repeated.)"

Did you get that?  Trump knows John Dingell is in hell, as surely as he knows what Nancy Pelosi prays for.  I can see why so many simple-minded evangelicals (but I repeat myself) think he's the messiah, or at least The Amazing Kreskin.  Rep. Dingell's response was exemplary:  "I'm preparing for the first holiday season without the man I love...your hurtful words just made my healing much harder."  (Melania Trump, make a note of this.  You'll need to plagiarize it yourself one day.)

Stephanie Grisham appeared in a cloud of red smoke to call Trump a "counterpuncher" bravely defending himself by attacking a dead man -- not John McCain for once.  There were few others who wanted to second his remarks publicly.  Even Rick Santorum, for Cthulu's sake, called them "beyond the pale" because "it will make it that much harder for Republicans to hold onto power."  Eyes on the prize, Rick.  Because after the House vote your guys stood in a "moment of silence" to honor the 63 million Americans who voted for Trump.  Nothing for the 65,844,610 who voted for Hillary Clinton.  Impeachment didn't thwart the will of the people -- at long last, it was upheld.  Go fuck yourselves.

Here are some fuckers who need to fuck themselves:

Barry Loudermilk (R-ACIST):  "Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than Democrats have afforded this president."

Fred Keller (R-ATSHIT):  "I'll pray for [Democrats]...'Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.'"

Mike Kelly (R-EPREHENSIBLE):  "On December 7, 1941, a horrific act happened in the United States...Today, December 18, 2019, is another date that will live in infamy..."

Vladimir Putin (R-USSIA):  "Democrats lost the last election, and now they want to win by other means."

Mark Simone (R-EALLY?)  "Everybody should go read that letter, it is a masterpiece.  It's a Gettysburg Address of smearjob, false accusations, what a response.  It's a historical document."

In all honesty, I have no idea who Simone is, but his effortless mixture of incoherence and sycophancy tells me he's probably the next attorney general.  And Smearjob is the name of my new  Messiaen-on-steel-drums ensemble.

Before I go, let me salute Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (?-HI) who showed why she should be president by voting "present" on the most important matter this House will consider.  If only Ted Sorensen were alive, he could slip her into Profiles In Courage right after Lucius Q. Lamar, Confederate general, senator and US Supreme Court Justice.  Some people have a knack for surrounding a question on all sides.


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Dump Trump Hump Day

After Trump collapsed, exhausted from screaming and flinging his shit at the walls, some staff writers composed a six-page tweet to Nancy Pelosi demanding that she "immediately cease this impeachment fantasy."  Obviously they couldn't tell her why they were more concerned than usual, although Trump's cholesterol level and bowel trouble are not exactly classified.  (The EPA assured him it's working "very strongly" on the supersonic toilet he demanded.)  At about the same time, pro-impeachment demonstrations were held in an estimated six hundred cities and towns.  Our thoughts and prayers to the White House cleaning staff.

According to the tweet, "More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials," which suggests Team Trump is planning to introduce spectral evidence.  For instance, whenever a Democrat begins to speak, Marsha Blackburn or Joni Ernst will wail, "Kamala, stop pinching me!  Oh, I can't breathe, Bernie is choking me!"  "I see Pocahontas dancing with the Black Man (Obama)!"  Also on the ectoplasmic level, Stephen Miller or whoever writes, "You are offending Americans of faith by continually saying 'I pray for the president,' when you know this statement is not true."  It's not clear whether this is because the Speaker is a Democrat or a Catholic, but nobody can know what is in her mind when she hits her knees at bedtime.  Maybe she even prays for Miller to turn back into a weasel.  Since Jesus enjoined his disciples to love their enemies, shouldn't Trump be bragging that he prays for Pelosi?  I guess Franklin Graham and Junior Falwell forgot to mention that part to him.

"You have cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!"  Is there an English teacher in the house?

"You know full well that Vice President Biden used his office and $1 billion dollars of US aid money to coerce Ukraine into firing the prosecutor who was digging into the company paying his son millions of dollars."  Is there a fact-checker in the house?

"You have developed a full-fledged case of what many in the media call Trump Derangement Syndrome and sadly, you will never get over it!"  Fall over dead and see how long it takes us.

"You view democracy as your enemy."  If this was a democracy, Lyin' Ryan would have impeached President Clinton before slinking back to Wisconsin.  BENGHAZIIIIII!

"You do not know, nor do you care, the great damage and hurt you have inflicted upon wonderful and loving members of my family."  I really don't care, do u?

"You are the ones [plural] subverting American Democracy.  You are the ones Obstructing Justice."  We are the ones trying to save correct English usage from illiterate slobs.  So Shut Up.

A crusade, a fantasy, a hoax or a witch hunt?  Those words don't remotely mean the same thing.  If only Miller's family hadn't sat shiva for him, they could give him a thesaurus as a Hanukkah present.

Read it if you like.  This waste of epidermis compared it (favorably) to the Gettysburg Address.  Aliza Worthington's parody is worth a smile.

Look, Wormface and his minions in the Senate are all lined up to kill this thing, and they admit it openly.  John Roberts need not order up a special Manos:  The Hands of Fate toga like Rehnquist's, no matter how many millions take to the streets.  But for one brief, shining moment we will make our point.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

After all

"Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" Adolf Hitler asked rhetorically in 1939.  A surprising number of people, it turns out, considering it happened in 1915-1916, during a larger and more terrible holocaust.  I have to admire the way the Armenian people have kept the story alive, subsumed as they were into the USSR for so long and subject to its propagandistic needs and whims.  All they want is an acknowledgment from the Republic of Turkey, successor state to the real perpetrators the Ottoman Empire.  All they get is grief.

On Saturday an Armenian organization in Glendale, California, held a meeting to thank government officials for their efforts to formally recognize the genocide.  They invited their Congressman, Adam Schiff, who is kind of busy these days but made the long trip home to attend.  This caused a troop of Trumpanzees to disrupt the event with shouting and shoving, including the now customary death threats against the Congressman.

Somehow both houses of Congress passed a resolution condemning the genocide, and it landed on the desk of the Stable Genius.  It will not be signed because that would hurt the feelings of Trump's third-favorite dictator Recep Erdogan.  Erdogan says he will order ask the Turkish parliament to retaliate by recognizing the destruction of this country's Native population.  This was enough to alarm Trump, although he hates Native Americans (they won't tell him how they operate all those casinos without a single bankruptcy) and also POCAHONTAS!  He pulled American forces out of the way and let Turkey invade Syria and attack the Kurds with the support of his favorite dictator Putin -- what more does this guy want?  Because Trump is fully prepared to give it to him.  All he asks in  return is a mega-hotel or two, maybe a golf course.   And some flattery (see Netanyahu, Benjamin).

If Erdogan doesn't make America blush by recalling Wounded Knee and the Trail of Tears, he has plenty more history to choose from.  If slavery is too big a subject -- and there were and are slaves in many other places -- he might narrow it to the destruction of the Greenwood section of Tulsa in 1921.  No one knows exactly how many black citizens were murdered, but that may be clarified now that two mass graves have been tentatively identified.   Who after all speaks today of Tulsa?  More people than spoke of it twenty years later, when Japanese-Americans were being marched off to concentration camps.  Have we learned not to do this?  Ask the caged refugees at the Mexican border and the prisoners of unofficial war who will likely die in Guantanamo.

None of which changes the inconvenient truth that over a million Armenians were driven into the desert to die of starvation and thirst.  Their memory deserves better than to be kicked around like a deflated football whenever creatures like Ted Cruz want to look more humanoid.

(By the way, if I take his point -- nobody cares how much blood you spill if you achieve your goal -- then Hitler was wrong.  The Ottomans lost the war and their empire.  Turkey, if you're listening, many countries are trying hard to own their history and to make amends, often at great political cost.  Our historians are grateful for your help, no matter how spitefully offered.)

Control the past...

The Trump Defense Department has decided to honor war criminal Joachim Peiper  of the Waffen-SS in commemoration of the Battle of the Bulge.  (Well, at least he was there.  Where were the Kurds?)

Hands up, all those who are surprised by this "error."  Better make it your right hand, arm fully extended.

Every time I think they can't get any lower, another sinkhole opens up.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Both sides no

The next time someone tells you there's no real difference between our two dominant parties, take a deep breath and politely refer to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Incoming Democratic Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order restoring voting rights to 140,000 non-violent offenders who have served their sentences and have completed parole or probation.

Outgoing Republican Governor Matt Bevin pardoned 428 rapists and murderers, only a few of whom have relatives who donated to his campaign.

Everything else is, in the words of S.J. Perelman, so much chin music.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Cleaning out the attic

Synchronicity, y'all.  Earlier today I (facetiously, I admit) proposed that Time put Dolly Parton on its Entity of the Year cover, just because I want to see Trump's face on her unmistakable body.  I want him to be gone and a subject for psychobiographers by then, but I'm not what you'd call a cockeyed optimist.  Turns out Parton has been on other people's minds, too, like Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-TN).  He proposes to take the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest out of the Tennessee state capitol, which is a great idea on its own, and replace it with one of Dolly Parton.  Forrest was three times a bastard -- seditious general, war criminal (murderer of prisoners of war at the battle of Fort Pillow) and founder of the Ku Klux Klan.  Dolly, on the other hand, is a singer-songwriter, an actor, the founder of Dollywood, and a hell of a saxophone player.  (She regaled the Glastonbury Festival, Britain's annual Woodstock of bad weather and primitive plumbing, with a rendition of "Yackety Sax" that got everybody up out of the mud and dancing.)

I'm totally behind this, Congressman, even though you probably supported that law to prevent municipal governments in Tennessee from taking down grisly relics of people like Forrest on public land.  Memphis came up with a perfectly brilliant plan to rid itself of his ugly statue -- even the horse was ugly, which takes determination on the part of the sculptor.  They sold the park to a non-profit which agreed to keep operating it as a park, and in the dead of night they sent in the heavy equipment and moved the monument off the now privatized land.  Wherever it is, you can stick the bust there, too.  Bring on Dolly!

I got some bad news today, too -- looks like Mikhail Bulgakov's comic novel The Master and Margarita will finally be filmed, by Baz Luhrmann.  Because the complete pig's breakfast he made of The Great Gatsby wasn't enough of an insult to twentieth century fiction.  Could someone tell him about books that come pre-trashed, like the work of Dan Brown?  Or does Opie have a lock on all of those?  Also, the author's first name is pronounced "Mee-ka-eel," not "McHale."  That annoys the hell out of me.  Spasibo.

Everything you've read about The Irishman is true.  See it anyway, preferably on Netflix in digestible segments.  Yes, it's too long.  Yes, it's based on Frank Sheeran's unreliable memoir and the history probably wouldn't pass the Snopes.com test.  Yes, the computer wizardry can make DeNiro look like a younger man but it can't make him move like one, especially when he's called upon to brutalize a grocer.  Yes, Harvey Keitel and Bobby Cannavale get important billing, but turn away to peel a banana (you'll need sustenance) and you could miss them altogether.  Yes, Stephen Graham is so good as Anthony Provenzano that I now have to see Boardwalk Empire (Al Capone) again.  And yes, I would buy the soundtrack by Robbie Robertson just for the period songs, a Scorsese trademark.  Not that I care about awards but I think it's technically possible this could win an Oscar and an Emmy, which would be weird.

I thought I was done being angry about the Vietnam War and the psychopaths (there's no other word) who kept it going long after they knew it was futile.  Last night I stumbled on a YouTube video of Hamilton Gregory discussing his book McNamara's Folly, and I wanted to smash things all over again.  I thought I was cynical, but I can't even play second string on Big Mac's team.  Bastard.

What a friend they have in Donald

Trump ended anti-Semitism yesterday by executive order.   He Hereby Ordered that Judaism is a nationality and therefore the federal government can deny funding to colleges that allow discrimination "on the ground of race, color or national origin" (presumably the 1964 Civil Rights Act omitted "religion" to protect religious schools).  Anti-Semitism is a growing problem everywhere, but Trump's definition is a lot narrower than you might think -- specifically the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement which is starting to harm the Israeli economy.  Elsewhere, not so much.

After proudly displaying his distinctive Sharpie scribble, President Righteous hosted a "Hanukkah" party (over a week early) for such people of faith as Pastor Robert "You can't be saved by being a Jew" Jeffress and Pastor John "Hitler was a hunter sent by God" Hagee.  A curious guest list, but Jared was there to light the menorah and represent world Jewry.  No invitation for Jerry Nadler or Shifty Schiff, of course, and no mention of the assault on a kosher grocery store in Jersey City by members of the batshit Black Hebrew Israelites.  I daresay they'll be tweet-bombed eventually for also killing a police officer.

I can't speak to whether Jews are a nationality or whether this is just the latest attempt to make them one with Zionists.   Plenty of people who identify as Jews also identify as atheists (Stephen Fry, the late Jonathan Miller) or embrace it as a cultural inheritance; plenty of Jews have no particular interest in Israeli politics or actively oppose Likud policies.  What I know -- what Jews learned again early in the last century -- is that it's always dangerous to let others define you, even if they don't call Nazis "very fine people" and brag about their "German blood," who have no comment when a supporter calls impeachment a "Jew coup," who truly believe Jews love money too much to vote for a Democrat.

With friends like these...  

Greta envy

I hope Dolly Parton is chosen next year.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Which side am I on?

When they're right, they're right.

Chairman Nadler's opening statement was interrupted by one of Glen Beck's Infowhores yelling that "you just want to remove Trump."  Well, duh.

North Korea called Trump "a heedless and erratic old man" after the dotard tweeted that his good friend Kim would not jeopardize their "special relationship" by continuing nuclear missile tests.  They will, and he is.

After three years of attacks and starvation budgets, Trump has finally acknowledged the importance of the Environmental Protection Agency.  He has given them an important job they are to look at "very strongly" -- determining why his huge hard dumps keep blocking up the White House toilet.  Most people with this problem would just add prunes to their diet, but that's why it's good to be the king.

After a Saudi Air Force officer here on a training assignment killed three people and wounded eight others at Pensacola Naval Air Station, Sen. Rick Scott and Rep. Matt Gaetz, both certified Trumpites, said the exchange program should be shut down and called it an "act of terror."  I doubt this will impress their boss, who tweeted about how sympathetic King Salman was, and how much his people love America.  (He didn't mention that the shooter may have been responding to his public embrace of three war criminals who killed civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq.)  Another lone nut?  I'm afraid I have to agree with Gaetz and Scott here.  Don't expect that to happen again.

The World Anti-Doping Agency, perhaps my favorite name ever for a bureaucracy, has banned Russia from next year's Olympics and the 2022 World Cup; however, individual Russian athletes may compete if they can pee successfully in a cup and if they can find enough guys for a soccer team.  This is known as a ruling that solves nothing.  Besides, most footballers in Qatar will be too dehydrated to pee for a week.

No one can accuse Trump of tailoring his bigotry to his audience.  He found a crowd of Jewish supporters called the Israeli American Council in Florida and proceeded to tell them they would never vote for a Democrat because their principal concern is protecting their wealth.  He's not repeating an antiquated calumny, he's just making a distinction between good Jews and bad Jews.  The audience understood how not anti-Semitic that is because they chanted "Twelve more years!"  It's not clear if he wished them a merry Christmas.

Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis and the Claremont (California) United Methodist Church are definitely on the Naughty list.  They set up Nativity displays that portray the Holy Family locked in cages just to ruin everybody's Christmas, because they hate America and want wide-open borders.  In medieval Europe they knew how to deal with heresy, and it wasn't with obscene Twitter abuse.  That's why you don't hear much about Monophysitism anymore.  Well, that and it's damn confusing, not unlike the dual nature of reality today.

The official Republican posture du jour is that Ukraine used its vast resources to interfere in the 2016 election, including hacking HRC's infamous emails.  So when Trump said "Russia, if you're listening," he was just throwing everyone off the scent.  See?  It's easy if you just stop thinking, remembering and caring.  

Saturday, December 07, 2019

The wrong time

"It is really a sad day for America.  It is, I think, going to hurt people's Christmas experience because this is going to be playing in the background.  Instead of Bing Crosby's Christmas album, we're going to have impeachment."  So says sad Matt Whitaker, former acting deputy acting assistant -- look, I think he was attorney general for a few weeks while the talent scouts were tracking down Barr.  That's right, the impeachment is just another front in the War on Christmas.  Instead of Der Bingle and Der Bowie harmonizing on "The Little Drummer Boy," you'll be trudging through Hugemart to the sound of twelve Ukrainians testifying, eleven Republicans ranting, ten witnesses invoking, nine lawyers circumlocuting...won't somebody think of the children?  

Obviously impeachment would be disastrous for Christmas as well as what Trump always calls "Our Country."  We could put it off until January, but that would ruin the two weeks we have to spend getting ready for the Superbowl.  Also, very unfair to the great Martin Luther King, and the many African Americans who celebrate his birthday.  I'm sure they wouldn't want February, Black History Month, hijacked by impeachment either.  And pitchers and catchers report to spring training, don't forget.  Most inappropriate for Presidents Day.  So maybe March?

St. Patrick.  I forgot.  

Look, there's just no time to do this that won't bum everybody out, even the pagans who celebrate Winter Solstice.  I think Whitaker underestimates Americans' ability to weather these psychic shocks.  I just checked, and the last impeachment occurred on December 19, 1998.  I'll let you know if I read of a member or former member of Bill Clinton's cabinet sobbing into the eggnog.

But nice try, Matt, you reminded Trump that you still exist.  He hasn't yelled at reporters that he never heard of you.  If promoting toilets for the overendowed dries up, so to speak, you'll be fine -- a job in  the executive branch opens up every few weeks.  Leave your name with Mitzi at reception and have a wonderful life.

Friday, December 06, 2019

They got plenty of nothin'

This is interesting.

Jason Smith (R-MO) introduced a resolution "suggesting" that Senators currently running for president -- Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker, according to my scorecard -- recuse  themselves from the impeachment trial.  This has no chance of passing the House, but indicates the degree of panic among Republicans.  Control of the Senate is not enough, apparently, they also want to stack the jury.  Their members on the Judiciary Committee, and a colorful bunch it is, spent the week arguing over the meaning of impeachment and occasionally wondering if it's even a real thing except for when a Democrat cheats on his wife (even if she is the personification of All Evil).  When the articles go to the full House I expect Louie, Gaetz, Gym and the rest to march up and down banging on pots and playing "Dixie" on kazoos before jumping into the Nunesmobile and rushing to the White House to prostrate themselves before the Chosen One.  "We did our best!  Don't tweet about us!"  Meanwhile, they're sweating like Prince Andrew doesn't.

Concerned that there might not be enough evidence against his client, Rudolph Giuliani is now, right this minute, in Ukraine talking to former prosecutors about the Bidens, a name they're probably sick of hearing.  He may have some idea of hauling one of them back to Washington to sing the "No Collusion" song when the hearings resume, or present something, anything, that makes Hunter Biden look dirty, and by association, his father.   Assuming Giuliani to have an idea is never wise.  This field has been harvested, gleaned, and picked clean by crows.  There's nothing there.  Like her emails.

Georgia is bracing for a hilarious nasty primary fight.  "Governor" Brian Kemp appointed Kelly Loeffler, a businesswoman and WNBA owner, to the Senate seat vacated by Johnny Isakson for health reasons.  Loeffler has no political experience, but that's not the reason she's in Trump's crosshairs -- he wanted Doug Collins, loyal pet and ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.   So even Kemp is trying to put daylight between himself and the Chosen One.  Even Matt "Water" Gaetz from our friendly neighbor to the south has put in his two tweet's worth to let everyone know he loves Trump more than Kemp does.   Being attacked by Trump even before she has taken her seat might make Loeffler want to actually consider the mountain of evidence that's coming from the House.  No wonder Jason Smith is spooked.  Additionally...

Pamela Karlan, a professor at Stanford Law School, made a typically professorial joke while testifying as an expert witness this week.   Explaining the difference between a president and a king to Louie Gohmert and other idiots, she said, "While the president can name his son Barron, he can't make him a baron."  Anyone who has sat in a lecture hall with some academic who fancies herself another Sarah Silverman is wearily familiar with this kind of thing (and the dutiful half-laugh it gets), but jeez Louise, you would have thought she was proposing to eat the kid's liver with a nice chianti.  Crossing a line!  Attacking a child!  It's not his fault his parents gave him a cockamamie name.  (Actually he was named for publicist John Barron, a/k/a John Miller, one of his father's other personalities.)  And of course, no one has ever made such a disgraceful joke before, especially not "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?"  ("Because her father is Janet Reno."*  Get it?  Hillary's a big lez!)  It was quite a sight, all those Republicans with their hair on fire.  Turns out the committee room doesn't have sprinklers.  And that, folks, is pretty much their only refutation of the charges -- a nasty woman made Barron wet his bed, lock her up.

Collectors of Trumpiana for the next DSM and other publications were handed a beauty this week, when a reporter brought up the abandonment of our Kurdish allies (this was in London -- the rest of the world hasn't forgotten).  Count the repetitions:  "We've taken the oil.  I've taken the oil.  We should have done it in other locations, frankly, where we were.  I can name four of them right now, but we've taken the oil...our great soldiers are right around the oil, where we've got the oil."  So, we have some oil?  That Obama failed to take?  Having gone broke in the casino business, Trump wants to see if he can do the same in petroleum?  House Foreign Relations Committee, this one's for you.

The economy is perfect, the war on Thanksgiving has been won, so now's the time to throw almost seven hundred thousand of us off food stamps.  Trump sought to drown out the mocking laughter of those NATO meanies (tariffs on French cheese and wine will show them!) by ordering the states to end SNAP payments to adults and encourage them to take those great jobs at Walmart until January.  You can tell from the picture what a rise it gave him.  As even Sonny Perdue must know, the food stamps program benefits farmers as much as the hungry poor, but farmers are now just one more group of people that Trump can't remember meeting.  Be extra generous to your local food pantry this year.

In slightly better news for the poor, California can now spend $650 million of its own money housing homeless families this Christmas.  The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has been refusing to provide data which the bill requires before allocating the money to local authorities.   Well, what do you want from a brain surgeon who's still learning how the Deep State works?  Notice, none of this is federal money.  Not for California.  They won't rake the forests.

Thanksgiving is secure, but the war on Christmas continues.  Like those rebs who weren't impressed by the news from Appomattox, several North Carolina towns have had to cancel their Christmas parades because some people won't leave their Confederate battle flags at home.  And really, what's Christmas but celebrating treason and slavery along with Jesus and Santa?  Heritage, you know.  Of course, the patchwork federal budget only runs through December 20, so a lot more people may have their Christmas cancelled.  Did I use the word "Christmas" enough?

This just in:  The Obamas have spent twelve million dollars of their own money on a house in Martha's Vineyard.  OBAMA NETFLIX!  Must Investigate!!

*Attributed to Newt Gingrich

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Another triumph

This is all you need to know:  Trump is so toxic, even Nigel Farage steered clear of him.   Farage helped Trump campaign for Roy Moore in Alabama, but with the Prince Andrew scandal expanding every day he can't afford to be associated, even at second hand, with what the Brits call a "paedo."  (There is no evidence that Moore knew Jeffrey Epstein -- too up-market for the judge, who preferred to troll shopping malls.)

He even looks toxic.


Trump couldn't wait to get out of Impeachment, D.C., after whining about being denied due process and then declining to send anyone to represent him at the House Judiciary hearings.  After a video of Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron and even Boris Johnson laughing at his typically nuts press conference surfaced on Twitter, he couldn't wait to get out of London.   (He called Trudeau "two faced," but at least neither of them look like ↑ this.)

First the gossip:  It is the considered opinion of the Intertubes that Princess Anne is a "royal badass" who refused her mother's request that she step up and get Trumped as the receiving line was inching forward.  Actually, she had already had the pleasure.  When she "responded with a shrug" she was probably just acknowledging the queen's "Do you believe this wanker?" gesture.  Anne was partnering Trudeau, who had come without his wife.  Like everyone else she just had to stand there while Trump monopolized the queen, who he now regards as a personal friend.  Melania could have nudged him or something, but she is the queen of passive aggression (see below).  It is true, however, that the Princess Royal (to give her title) is known to be a badass who doesn't really care what you think, like her father but less racist.  Speaking of which, Mrs. Prince Harry passed up another opportunity to meet President "very fine people on both sides."  Amazing.

There was a serious side, too, mainly Trump accusing the French of damaging NATO, a job that Putin clearly assigned to him.  He offered to send them a bunch of ISIS fighters who he claims are mostly European (wrong).  No mention of all the ISIS who escaped from the Kurds when they were overrun by Turkish forces, even though Erdogan was also at the party.  "Let's be serious," said Macron dismissively, causing Trump to label all of France "nasty."  Usually he reserves that very thoughtful word for individuals, mostly women.  A votre sante!

The First Escort continues to carve out a role for herself with, I must say, considerable snark.  As befits a "model" she often relies on clothes to signal her feelings, like the "I Really Don't Care Do U" jacket she wore to visit children at a border camp (you can buy it on Amazon).  She wore an outfit to the palace in the UKIP colors, earning thanks from Mrs. Farage.  Just before they left she allowed Time magazine to photograph the White House Christmas decorations, which are considerably less macabre than last year's.  (I don't know if Time added the sound or the White House now features department store music.)  The theme is "patriotism," and one tree is devoted to Gold Star families.  I wonder if the family of Captain Humayun Khan is included.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Begging Tuesday

Virtually from the moment I typed in my password I have been importuned for money -- from charities I support and charities I never heard of, from blogs and news organizations and small magazines.  Thanks to Microsoft, may they die in agony, I don't even have to open my mailbox because the demands pop up in the corner of the screen while I'm trying to do something else.  It's not as if I don't get them every other day, but who is the stable genius who came up with Giving Tuesday?  And of course it's every third webpage I visit -- "I see you're using AdBlock.  How dare you?  No article for you."  "You have nine articles left -- subscribe now!"  "Already a subscriber?  Go find your password and put it in again.  We'll reject it a few times and then you can spend ten minutes setting up another one and then if you can remember what you wanted to read..."

Enough.  All of you, out.  I am in full Ebenezer Scrooge mood, and it's not going to be pretty.

1.  I am not Oprah Winfrey or Warren Buffett.  I am not a Vanderbilt heir.  I am a retired bookkeeper living on Social Security.  There are only so many ways I can slice up the pie.

2.  I don't care for bandwagon events like Giving Tuesday or Gingivitis Awareness Week or National Pickle Month.  I don't even celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day.  Oh, sure, movie pirates are a significant part of our culture, but I don't like the feeling of being required to Join In.  On some random day, I will channel my Robert Newton for a select few.  As we say on Jimmy Cagney's birthday, that's the kind of hairpin I am.  If I'm asked to stand with immigrants or help rebuild Albania tomorrow, you may well find me in a giving mood.  Not now.

3.  As far as I'm concerned AdBlock is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  It's an eighth sacrament.  It's the Uffizi Gallery, it's Garbo's salary, it's cellophane, and I will take it off for no one.  Remember what YouTube used to be like, with commercials rammed between the notes of a Schubert symphony?  Not going back there.

Now all of you good people can fuck right off.