Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Up to here

The Buttermilk Sky Organization wishes to announce that we have officially Had It.

Anthony Fauci says the US could soon see 100,000 new cases of covid every day. (Has he been wrong about anything so far?)  At the same hearing, Robert Redfield promised a CDC program to build "vaccine confidence," so that if we ever get a vaccine against this fast-mutating virus, anti-vax morons won't refuse to take it.

Carl "Watergate" Bernstein has a long, enraging piece at the CNN website which details some of the ways Trump is systematically destroying our standing in the world, not to mention our troops.  Funny but not surprising is his special venom toward female leaders.  Does he really think he can intimidate Angela Merkel by calling her "stupid"?  She grew up in East Germany, for fuck's sake.  I didn't think it was possible but Trump makes me wish Margaret Thatcher could come back for just one hour.  She'd have him whimpering in the corner.

Carl Reiner is dead.  So is Ian Holm.

In the Washington Post Brian Klaas writes, "Even before the latest debacles, Brits, Canadians, Germans, Spaniards, Australians, Mexicans and French people held a more favorable view of President Xi Jinping of China than President Trump."  Probably because Xi actually cares about China.  Put a bounty on Chinese soldiers and see what happens.

The mothers of soldiers and Marines killed in Afghanistan want an investigation into the Russia bounty report, which Trump was told about last year.  As do we all.  Trump says he wasn't briefed (they have to tell him because he can't read) and then says he can't remember.  Then he calls Biden "senile."

King Philippe of Belgium has expressed "deepest regrets" for his country's treatment of the Democratic Republic of Congo on the sixtieth anniversary of its independence.  See, President Erdogan, it's not so hard to face up to your history.

After calling him a "dead man golfing," which I would love to steal, Guardian columnist Arwa Mahdawi concludes, "I doubt Trump will throw in the towel:  he would rather drink bleach than be seen as a loser.  He may be trailing in the polls but he will do whatever it takes to win."  Robert Reich offers a checklist of things TRE45ON will try (and mostly has already).  Charlie Pierce concludes:
"The idea of four more years of this is utterly terrifying.  Worse is the rising feeling that, if he knows he's going to lose, and that all hidden things will be made manifest, he'll pull the temple down on his own head.  It is time to force a confrontation, and a resignation.  It won't happen, but let history record that it should have."

Meet G4 EA H1N1, the newly-discovered swine flu in Chinese slaughterhouses.  Potential for human infection.  Needs a catchier name, like "OH MY GOD NOT AGAIN!"  

 Trump has a message for African Americans, so he went to Fox News and conveyed it via Brian Kilmeade:  "If you don't understand your history, you will go back to it again."  Which sounds like a threat, since he wants people to learn history by looking at statues of dead white generals who fought to preserve slavery.  Books just mix you up.

Three months ago Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz was the first NBA player to test positive for coronavirus.  At the press conference where this was announced he thought it was funny to go around touching every camera and piece of equipment, because he does not like sportswriters.  He is now well enough to work out but says he has not fully recovered his sense of smell.  Or apologized.

The public toilets at Balmoral are closed because of the pandemic, and visitors are shitting all over the queen's Scottish estate.  Being royal is not what it used to be.  


Monday, June 29, 2020

Embers and embryos

Are you ready for another week of midsummer madness?

Our story begins in the long-ago time BC (before covid) when, we learn, the UK's Intelligence and Security Committee reported to Prime Minister Theresa May on the rubles-for-scalps program in Afghanistan.  Apparently May and her successor Boris Johnson hesitated to publish the report for fear of upsetting Putin's biggest fan in the White House.  The biggest fan doesn't believe a word of it but his intelligence officials today briefed members of the relevant House committees -- Republicans only because he doesn't like the Democrats.  Governance.

Trump himself has been too busy to involve himself in the deaths of a few members of the United States military.  It's very hard to break in a new act without live audiences.  Folks in Tulsa appeared to be bored by his fourteen-minute number "In-a-gadda-da-ramp-was-incredibly-slippery,"  preferring the standards "Build that wall" and "Lock 'er up."  With only four months left on the Victory Tour, he still hasn't settled on a demeaning nickname for Joe Biden.  Possibilities include "Sleepy Joe," "Swampy Joe" and "Creepy Joe," with "Corrupt Joe" definitely gaining ground.  He might try "Malaprop Joe" if he knew what it meant.  "Shoeless Joe" is probably out.

Meanwhile Trump is cementing the little support he has left, retweeting the most hateful garbage that comes across his phone.  Yesterday it was some inmates of a Florida retirement community yelling "White power!" which got the presidential seal of approval ("Thank you to the great people of The Villages").  Today he introduced us to St. Louis power couple Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who responded to some protesters walking past their house the way real Americans do, by breaking out the armaments.  The first retweet was deleted but not the second, as far as I can tell.

Trump has no interest in music so he ignored the "violin vigil" in Aurora yesterday.  Before police killed him last year Elijah McClain played the violin, and several local musicians gathered to play their instruments in his memory.  This irked the blueshirts, who arrived with riot gear and pepper spray to break it up and restore order -- the part Trump would have liked.  I suppose they were in fear for their lives -- you can put somebody's eye out with a violin bow.

Princeton University is removing the name of Woodrow Wilson from its School of International and Public Affairs for flagrant racism, despite his being a former president (of the university and the country).  There is a similar impetus to rename John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, for similar reasons.  Guess who thinks this is "incredible stupidity" and blames Democrats.  Go on, guess.   Nearby Charles Lindbergh Airport in San Diego was renamed two years ago in recognition of his anti-Semitism and Naziphilia, but locals still call it that.

Has John Roberts had a road-to-Damascus moment?  He voted with the 5-4 majority to throw out a Louisiana anti-abortion law which bears a striking resemblance to a Texas anti-abortion law the Court threw out four years ago.  How many states to go?  More to the point, is the Chief Justice in a secure location?  Because those folks who love life so much are awfully violent when crossed.

It only seems like coronavirus cases are growing exponentially.   "There are embers that need to be put out," said Kayleigh McEnany, earning Understatement of the Month as June staggers to a close.  There are so many embers in Houston that Texas Medical Center is trying to restrict information about bed and ICU capacity in what may be the world's biggest hospital.  The embers are leading about twenty-five states to halt their re-opening and insist people wear masks; to get into New York from a hot spot like Arizona or Florida, you must agree to two weeks of quarantine.  The lines for testing are longer than the lines to vote in Georgia.  K-leg's boss just had to reverse his plan to end federal support for testing in five states.  Even Pence is sporting a mask.  But just turn a garden hose on those embers and let the good times roll.  (By the way, Jacksonville, proud host of the Republican National Convention, is requiring masks indoors.  Maybe just get a calliope and some unicyclists and take this circus on the road, Ronna.)

Just because many humans can't learn doesn't mean coronavirus can't.  A mutation is making it more infectious.  Should we tell K-Leg?

To close on a lighter note, Iran has issued an arrest warrant for Trump and thirty-five other people in the assassination of Qassem Suleimani.  Finally he and Salman Rushdie will have something to laugh over the next time they run into each other.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Schadenfreude Saturday

Tim Walters is a co-founder of Reopen Maryland who led demonstrators to Annapolis last April to demand an end to coronavirus tyranny.  Yesterday he bragged to the Capital Gazette that he has been coughing since March and was finally diagnosed with the Trump flu.  "I got it because Satan deemed to get it.  Because he wanted to quiet my work."  That's why he won't take part in contact tracing, because the maybe hundreds of people he encountered in four months are either fine or not fine, depending on Satan.

Now we know why Trump accused Obama of "treason" this week.  The word was freshly implanted in his woeful brain by a report in the New York Times that Russia is paying cash bounties for coalition forces killed in Afghanistan.  If this doesn't get Putin invited to the next G8 cookout, I can't imagine what will.  "Getting along with Russia is a great thing," Trump is actually supposed to have said.

It seems only yesterday that Mike Pence was assuring astonished reporters that he and his "task force" have a good handle on this pandemic thing.  But as Florida breaks its own record for new cases day after day, Pence is "postponing" a bus tour of the Sunshine State.  Since he's not allowed to wear a mask or socially distance on pain of Trump-tantrum, it's probably best.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies reports that most terrorist violence in the US comes from the far right, and has for the last twenty-five years.  The Justice Department continues to keep a close watch on Black Lives Matter and "Antifa," because that might change any time now.

There are more protests against racism in Washington, so Trump promised to stay close to his couch desk "to make sure law and order is enforced."  But it was sunny, so he decided to enforce from his golf club in Virginia.  Close enough.

For news that doesn't make you want to turn in your Human Race membership card we turn to Aceh, Indonesia.  People defied the covid lockdown to save a hundred Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution in Myanmar in a small boat.  Authorities in that part of the world have used covid as an excuse to turn away refugees and even put them back to sea in the boats they came in.  People who stepped up for Aung San Suu Kyi during her long confinement may want to ask The Lady why she isn't stepping up for these Muslims, but as Anatole France put it, "Dreyfus n'est pas un dreyfusard."

Trump knows nothing of history, but he's already finding a place in it.  Noam Chomsky told Jacobin magazine, "Trump is the worst criminal in history, undeniably.  There has never been a figure in political history who was so passionately dedicated to destroying the projects for organized human life on earth in the near future.  That is not an exaggeration."  Well, maybe just a small one.  Trump acts out of pure self-gratification and stupidity; he has no theoretical program like Stalin or Mao.  Does that make him worse?  I think I'll go with Charlie Pierce, who calls him "a world-historical barbarian motherfucker...His response to the worst public health crisis in a century is of a different order of magnitude.  Historians of the future are going to rank him in this regard with Genghis Khan in Persia, King Leopold of Belgium in the Congo, Stalin's engineered famines in Ukraine, and Charles Trevelyan's supervision of the Great Famine in Ireland.  Deliberately and for his own tawdry political purposes, he has failed utterly in his duty and north of 100,000 Americans already have died."

What a time to be alive.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Speech, free and otherwise

With everything else going on, you may not have noticed that the US Agency for Global Media got a new jefe, Michael Pack, who proceeded to fire the heads of Radio Free Europe and Middle East Broadcasting Networks.  Pack is a Trump hire so I was prepared to despise him, but I find myself in strange company than runs from Eliot Engel to Sebastian Gorka.  Michael Doran, who served in the more recent Bush administration, predicts Pack will be "as effective as a drugged bug in a bottle," which I have to admit is pretty colorful talk.  Veteran rightzi David Reaboi boasts that he advised Pack on cleaning out "a megaphone for anti-American leftwing agitprop."  (Because American = rightwing, it's just common sense.)  I suppose we wait to see who he installs in these and other outlets.  Not holding my breath for Amy Goodman.

A lot of people rely on Voice of America and RFE for news they can't get from state media or online.  For example, many Russians may not see the darkly funny side of a school surveillance system called, as Godunov is my witness, Orwell.  I can't decide if they've never read 1984 or they use it as a manual.  Winston Smith had to remind himself to compose his features into an expression of quiet optimism within range of a viewscreen; facial recognition technology can tell if you're faking.

Jeremy Christian is devoted to freedom of speech.  Three years ago he decided to exercise it on a Portland, Oregon, train, yelling racist abuse at two Muslim women.  Three passengers intervened, and Christian stabbed two of them to death and wounded the third.  Yesterday a judge sentenced him to life in prison and recommended that it be "real life" so Portland doesn't have to listen to his free speech anymore.  He responded with one last mouthful directed at the two women:  "I should've killed you bitches."  Another First Amendment martyr.

The Eiffel Tower has reopened, but Americans won't be climbing to the top to see the spot where Ninotchka and Leon fell in love.  (It's just a better movie than Sleepless In Seattle, and Paris is prettier than Manhattan.)  The European Union may ban Americans from traveling there because of our inability to get covid under control.  In fact, we seem to be actively helping it thrive.  Having encouraged millions of covidiots to crowd public places, dose themselves with dangerous drugs and rip masks off non-idiots, Trump decided it was time for another assault on the Affordable Care Act.  Less than two weeks ago Americans shivered at the story of Michael Flor, the seventy-year-old Seattle man who recovered from covid and was handed a hospital bill for $1.1 million.  (Yes, the Hindustan Times, because this news rocketed around the world.  Also no paywall.)  In politics as in comedy, the secret is timing.  But Senate Republicans, public health officials, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Dick Fucking Cheney all agree:  This is getting worse.

There are signs that Trump, whose emotional underdevelopment Hillary Clinton warned us about, has already given up.  Last night he held a Hannity hand-job billed as a "town hall" in Green Bay, Wisconsin, that will probably come up next time you search for "incoherence."  Not enough people love him, he's still figuring out the job nearly four years after the "I alone can fix it" speech, he had hardly even heard of Washington before being "elected," he made a few mistakes like hiring John Bolton, experience is a good thing, but you know what's the worst thing?  "Here's a guy who can't talk.  When he does talk, he can't put two sentences together...and he is going to be president because some people don't love me, maybe.  And all I'm doing is doing my job."

It's true, Joe Biden is no Barack Obama or Franklin Roosevelt, but he's also not a depraved, grifting, semi-literate racist who hides in a bunker because of a few protesters.  He doesn't issue empty threats to mayors who displease him.  He knows that tariffs only hurt the American companies and consumers who have to pay them.  He isn't obsessed with his television ratings.  He won't spend his mornings watching television in bed or his afternoons asking people if Finland is part of Russia.  He doesn't think Nazis are "very fine people" or cherish statues of seditious generals over suffering people.  He doesn't think every bloody thing that happens in the world is a plot to make him look bad.  If he even contemplates appointing a Secretary of Education who tries to wreck the public schools, Jill Biden, Ph.D., will straighten him out.  (She won't have to.)  Did I leave anything out?  The orange clown makeup.  So yeah, I can do without the silver-tongue eloquence of President Covfefe, and the endless lava-flow of moronic tweets.  Come on, January!

Smash the statues, reunite the families at the border, turn off the gaslights, count the silverware and fumigate the White House.  Oh, and tell Putin to go fuck the Urals.


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Answered questions

I never got my $1,200 "stimulus" payment, and now I know why:  the Treasury Department paid over a billion dollars to dead people.  (The stimulus failed, as they are still dead.)  The IRS has requested that they return the checks.  Guys, they're dead.  The information comes from the Government Accountability Office, which works for Congress and which Trump cannot fire, although he'll probably try.

Even though every poll except Mother Pence's Bible Circle shows Trump losing to Biden, the right-wing Law and Justice Party thought some White House buffing would help Andrzej Duda get re-elected president of Poland.  Trump is sending him some US troops he removed from Germany because Angela Merkel is a big doody-head.  The next distinguished guest will be Kosovo president and accused war criminal Hashim Thaci.  Maybe Trump will give him one of his great lawyers, like Giuliani.  Michael Cohen is still doing house arrest.

It has been only one month since George Floyd's death, but it feels like this country has changed utterly.  Some people, however, still can't breathe.  NYPD Officer David Afanador was suspended without pay for using a chokehold on Richard Bellevue.  Three staff members at the Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo, Michigan, have been indicted in the death of Cornelius Fredericks, a 16-year-old they "restrained" by kneeling on his chest.  Elijah McClain was walking home when police in Aurora, Colorado, stopped him, put him in a chokehold and injected him with ketamine, a powerful anesthetic which caused cardiac arrest.  Someone had called 911 because he was wearing a ski mask, which is odd in August but hardly a crime.  Although the police were cleared of wrongdoing, Governor Jared Polis says he will re-open the case.  All it took was a petition with two million signatures.  Meanwhile, the police chief of Tucson offered his resignation after an excruciating video surfaced of Carlos Ingram-Lopez being suffocated last April.  Cleveland, if you're listening, today would have been the eighteenth birthday of Tamir Rice.  There is no statute of limitations on murder.

Of course, coronavirus has killed more Americans than the police and is on course to continue killing us without much interference from the federal government.  In "What the fuck now?" news, CDC director Robert Redfield says there are probably ten undiagnosed cases for every one confirmed by testing.  Governor Greg Abbott says he will "pause" the reopening in Texas, where several thousand people get covid every day, just as Dr. Fauci and everyone else with actual knowledge of disease predicted months ago.  (Has anyone seen Deborah Birx lately?)  If Trump has his way we'll never get out of this mess -- he still thinks the only problem is a statistical one and the solution is to slow the testing.  Which was a joke until it wasn't.  The sociopathic narcissist is much more worried about the granite likeness of Albert Pike than human life.  By the way, two Secret Service agents who worked the Greatest Rally of All Time came back from Tulsa with coronavirus, so Trump is probably bathing in Purell at this point.

He's also determined to have a fireworks display on Mount Rushmore, the largest monument to Injun hatin' presidents in the country, from the sculptor who gave us the Stone Mountain Treason Memorial.  Nick Tilsen of the Oglala Lakota tribe has called it a celebration of "structural racism," but with the added benefit this year of spreading coronavirus and possibly touching off wildfires, the only word is Trumptastic.  A speech about "kung flu" would be the icing on the yellowcake.

In his most heartbreaking bid yet for the sociopathic narcissist's favor, Donnie Jr. has proposed replacing toppled statues with likenesses of the Old Man.  Already on it, Junior.

The Emperor Has No Balls - San Francisco.png

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Extremely loud and incredibly dumb

The countries with the largest number of covid cases continue to be the United States, Brazil, Russia, India and the United Kingdom.  That they also have governments headed by authoritarian nationalists is probably a coincidence.

The devil went down to Texas -- excuse me, Trump went down to Arizona.  He stood and looked at his very impressive WALL which is painted black so it will be harder to climb at night, and also to get some video for his next campaign ad.  (Let us pause and wonder why they are running on MSNBC.  Does Parscale think there are votes to be harvested here?  Does he wish to pad Comcast's bottom line?  Does he no longer give a shit?  I'm going with that.)  He had already assured the locals that WALL "stopped covid, it stopped everything."  There were 3,591 new cases and more than 2,100 hospitalizations in the state yesterday, so I guess they need more WALL.

And less testing.  Although we have the best testing in the world, we shouldn't use it.  Or just a little.  I've given up trying to make sense of the noises that come out of Trump, especially in front of a mob of cultists.  "Testing is a double-edged sword," he explained.  "In one way it tells you you have cases.  In another way you find out where the cases are."  Clear?  The director of the CDC was more succinct:  "Coronavirus has brought this nation to its knees," Robert Redfield said, evoking an image of trouble-making athletes disrespecting The Flag.   I thought I could hear the soft, ghostly chuckling of the virus, but that's insane -- viruses have no mouths.  Have they?

The undercard at the Phoenix Phun Phest was amusing, too:  A young woman went to bat for Aunt Jemima.  Reagan Escude's parents must have done worse things to her than name her after the Gipper, because she went full Ann Coulter on those racists at Quaker Oats who won't let us have a friendly mammy on our box of frozen waffles.  Nobody stood up and said, "Girl, you full of shit" because, well, guess.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is officially the most powerful freshman Representative since ever.  Yesterday her support helped Jamaal Bowman defeat Eliot Engel, 16-term Congressman and chair of the House Foreign Affairs committee, in the primary.  She also won her own primary despite big-donation support from Wall Street for her opponent.  And she can dance!

What else happened?  Oh yes, Trump accused Obama of "treason" for putting "wire tapps" on his 2016 campaign.  Russia held a Victory Day Parade in a packed Moscow because Putin envies the big covid numbers that Bolsonaro is putting up and wants to move into second place, I guess.  I'm not seeing any masks or distancing.  A Republican congressional candidate in Missouri has a fascinating theory that George Floyd actually died in 2016.  Then it gets weird.  Hashim Thaci, president of Kosovo, has been indicted in The Hague for war crimes.  That's right, a sitting president can be indicted.  And the Segway will soon join the eight-track tape and the church-key in the dusty precincts of "Hey, what's that?"

NBC is removing several episodes of 30 Rock because they involve blackface for some unfathomable reason, at the request of the show's creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.  This show came on in 2006 so I can't imagine what they were thinking, and now I'll never know.  Before you think "memory hole," I'm sure the episodes are on a DVD box set somewhere.  Nothing ever vanishes, no matter how embarrassing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Invisible empire

Like Charlie Brown's friend Pigpen, Trump travels in a cloud of filth, perhaps more moral than literal but certainly noxious.  Arizona is seeing a record increase in coronavirus cases, so to Arizona he must go.  Today's plaguefest is booked into the Dream City Church in Phoenix because it only holds 3,000 people -- no repeat of the Tulsa debacle.  Expect many more such venues as he snuggles up to the believers and helps churches flout the Johnson Amendment.  Has Trump ever come across a law he didn't want to move on like a bitch?

Earlier today he signed another of those risible Hereby Orders, this one demanding ten years in prison for anyone who harms statues of the seditious.  If local and state governments won't take them down, people have to do it themselves, a sometimes dangerous procedure.  But why stop at ten years?  Ex-felon Dinesh D'Souza advised his patron that in India you would be shot if you "vandalize a monument to the father of the country."  Which presumably would be an emperor from a few thousand years ago, or possibly a god.

I think I have an answer:  Take down all the statues.  Statues imply worship and belong in temples and churches.  Worshipping men and women is always a bad idea, whether George Washington or Saddam Hussein.  Who decided that every park needs a general or a politician frozen in stone and covered in pigeon shit? Let's encourage creativity.  Maya Lin's wall is a far more moving testament to the tragedy of Vietnam than the representational kitsch that Ross Perot insisted on adding.  Ideas of what was acceptable changed so much over half a century that FDR's monument depicted his wheelchair but banished his cigarette; I think he would have been irritated about both.  End the debate and pull them all down.  (I was going to say "One man's Meade is another man's Pershing" but I won't, because puns are unacceptable.)  Here endeth the lesson.

Because it's rally time, in a Phoenix church that presumably has no ramps.  I'll be impressed if Trump can go twenty-four hours without calling attention to either his physical feebleness or his inability to draw flies in redder-than-red Oklahoma.  I have a feeling this isn't over.  An OANN operative called (checks notes) Chanel Prion has detected a leftist-Antifa plot to lie about how the BOK place was actually crammed to the gunwales, and even the Tulsa fire marshal is in on it, and the media just repeats their LIES.  Then the Lincoln Project, who are like your crazy rightwing uncle if he slipped you a check "for college, don't tell your aunt," shared video of Mike Pence doing a little Dick Van Dyke stumble as he climbs the steps to Air Force One, which is a pretty pathetic way to stay on the ticket.  Do they all have to wobble, shuffle, trip, spill water on themselves and drop their pants now?  Please make it so.  

Let me leave you with a disquieting thought.  What if Trump's "silent majority" is not just silent but invisible?  It explains not just the Tulsa debacle but the seemingly empty chairs at the inauguration.  The "many people" who keep telling him things could actually exist.  They may have given him information about Area 51 or "Mexican caravans" that nobody else has.  They never get polled because they don't have phones.  But somehow they vote.

We can't afford not to consider it.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

The longest day

Time to unwind.

When I was a young one, this marked the end of the spring marathon that began in April:  Dad's birthday, Mothers Day, Mom's birthday, Mom and Dad's anniversary, Fathers Day.  By now, we were out of money and ideas.  The poor man generally got a book he didn't want or, later, a videotape.  (Never a necktie -- we weren't idiots.)  Eventually we just took him out to dinner.  People used to do that.

I thought I'd start today with the lighter side of racism, though Terry Myers of Aberdeen, Scotland, isn't laughing.  He was fined $350 for an email in which he called his ex-girlfriend's Irish-born partner a "leprechaun."  The court called it a racially aggravated offense.  They apparently had "history" -- the L word doesn't come out of nowhere.

If you went to bed early or switched over to Noir Alley, you missed Trump's walk of shame from the chopper to the big house.  Treat yourself.  He looks like Willy Loman after a particularly grim trip to Davenport, Iowa.

Pay attention, Brian Kemp, this is what vote suppression looks like.  First you mail out ballots that don't reflect the voter's party affiliation.  Then you reduce polling sites from 3,700 to 200, with one per black-majority county in Kentucky.  Then you get a heavily armed white militia to stand outside every polling place -- oh, wait, you don't have to.  Just be sure to thank the Chief Justice for castrating the Voting Rights Act.  Maybe a case of Glennbeck single malt.

Rudolph Giuliani didn't get a tie for Fathers Day.  He got Geoffrey Berman off his case.  The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York is no longer investigating his skeevy activities in Ukraine.  In other words, TOTAL EXONERATION, Trump style.

Eskimo Pie is the latest food to be found racist.  Can Brown Betty be far behind?  Are crackers insulting to white southerners?  This is fun and pointless.  Days after Governor Cuomo signed a law banning the practice, there is video of a New York City police officer employing a chokehold on a black man.  The whole re-naming campaign doesn't seem to be working.  Nor does moving the portraits of Robert Hunter, Howell Cobb, James Orr and Charles Crisp out of the Capitol in Washington.  If you know why they were there for over a century and why they're now in the basement, have a gold star.

The Vatican has called on Catholics to divest from fossil fuels in an encyclical warning about the consequences of climate change.  Hey, Francis, shut up and pray.


NASA has released this picture from the Hubble telescope which clearly shows the Great Turtle A-tuin traveling eternally through space.  Have a peaceful summer.


Saturday, June 20, 2020

Nobody goes there, it's too crowded

The excitement has been building all week, so it's shocking to see all the empty seats in the BOK Center.  Millions of people, big strong men with tears in their eyes, said, "Sir, we have to get tickets."  How could this have happened?

Were people scared away by the protesters with their chants and tee shirts?  That doesn't sound like the FUCK YOUR FEELINGS crowd.  

Were they apprehensive about a potentially fatal disease?  Those who did show up heard that Trump wanted to "slow the testing down," which means fewer people would get sick, including the six rally staffers who came up positive today.

Were they driven to leave early by warm-up comedian Eric Trump talking about "these animals literally taking over our cities, burning down churches," and assuring them that the Trumps will preserve "the moral fabric of the country"?  Come on, that's comedy gold.

Were they afraid of yet another tirade about the Ramp of Death, complete with display of the Shoes of Treachery?  They were right to be.

Were they confused by the appearance of helium balloons "Baby Trump" and "Bunker Baby" over The Shrine, a music venue two miles away?  They were part of a fund-raiser to restore the Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church, the only building to survive the Greenwood Massacre of 1921.  Probably the church burned by "animals" that Eric was talking about.

Were they shocked when Trump began slandering Rep. Ilhan Omar, days after her father died of covid?  Doesn't sound like this bunch.

Stuck in traffic?

Brad Parscale, you need to clean out your desk.


A heap of broken images

Iconoclasm is cheap and fun.  Like book-burning, it accomplishes nothing except to make the participants feel virtuous.  All it takes is a hammer.

Since most people walk around with more computer power in their phones than Alan Turing could have dreamed of, may I suggest a quick visit to Wikipedia first?  Someone decided that just because Matthias Baldwin had a statue in front of City Hall in Philadelphia, he must have been as vile a racist as Frank Rizzo.  By defacing him with red paint and adding the charming touch of a noose, Unknown Freedom Fighter has at least drawn attention to a truly admirable individual, one of the city's first abolitionists.  Baldwin (1795-1866) was an industrialist who underwrote a school for African American children and, as a member of the state's Constitutional Convention, fought for black male suffrage.  So, sort of an anti-Rizzo.

Protesters in San Francisco pulled down a statue of Ulysses Grant in Golden Gate Park.  That Ulysses Grant, the one who defeated Lee's army.  Here the problem seems to be that he owned one slave, a "gift" from his father-in-law; it says here that he freed the man, William Jones, after a year, even though he was broke and Jones probably would have sold for a thousand dollars.  What a bastard.  Then there was the war, a necessary precondition for ending all slavery.  Andrew Johnson used him as a prop, which he hated, and in 1868 he was elected president himself.  It's regrettable that his administration is mostly remembered for corruption because Grant was someone I could happily vote for.

Five hundred thousand black men voted for Grant (presumably including William Jones), and his Electoral College margin was 214-80.  He vigorously supported Reconstruction, sometimes with federal troops.  His first Inaugural Address called for "proper treatment" of Native Americans.  He believed women should have the vote.  He appointed many Jews to the federal government and did what he could to protect Russian Jews from the czar, who was being more abusive than usual.  He even proposed a Constitutional amendment to ban religious teaching in public schools, but it went nowhere.  He created the first Civil Service Commission.  He crushed the Klan.  When he was dying, he wrote the best memoir of any president to provide for his wife.  What is your problem, San Francisco?

During yesterday's Juneteenth festivities, protesters in Washington finally removed the only statue of a Confederate general on public land, Albert Pike, by pulling it down and setting fire to it (apparently granite burns).  The city has been seeking Congressional permission to get rid of it since 1992.  The police came but made no effort to put out the well-controlled fire.  Just when people thought it couldn't get better, Trump emitted one of his rage-burps on Twitter, which was read out to the delighted crowd.  Pike was a big cheese in Freemasonry, but the brothers have had nearly thirty years to find a new home for this thing.  Now it's garbage.

Iconoclasm doesn't repair the past, but it sometimes makes the future wonder what people were thinking.  I wish I could remember which French cathedral has all the statues of kings which have been beheaded.  In the wake of decapitating an actual flesh-and-blood king (and his wife, and several thousand other people), it feels like overkill, like a mad temper tantrum.  Nothing of the kind happened after the execution of Charles I in England, but hundreds of churches were defaced in the name of cleansing popish idolatry -- choir screens, paintings, stained glass windows, carvings, statues, the gold and silver altar equipment that were so important to generations, many of them astonishing works of art.  Nobody saw their aesthetic importance because they were blinded by their sacrality, which had suddenly become dangerous and corrupt.  In this post-religious era, we regret their destruction all the more.

These Jim Crow-era statues lack artistic importance even when they aren't as gruesome as Nashville's Nathan Bedford Forrest.  Their historic importance stems from the fact that nearly all were erected decades after Appomattox, not to celebrate "history and heritage" but to remind African Americans that the South could do what it wanted because the North had lost interest, that all their suffering had been dissolved in those fraternal embraces of old men at Gettysburg that so charmed Ken Burns.  It's a phony history that they commemorate, and it's time for them to go.

Image result for forrest statue

Friday, June 19, 2020

Friday the Juneteenth

Pandemic, protest, fire and flood, what's next? a weary nation wonders.

Pirates, says the Office of Naval Intelligence, terrorizing ships and oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.  Didn't see that coming, did you?  No, because that's how pirates operate, they creep right up and board you and make you walk the plank.  Well, no plank-walking has been reported but I'm sure it's right around the corner.  Everything is right around the corner.

The Trump Tulsa Terrordome will open its doors tomorrow and it should be a good one, complete with marching bands, sword swallowers and petomanes.  The Petomane-In-Chief has had months to store up rage and narcissism, so expect it all to spew forth.  Trump is already issuing threats against anyone who plans to protest, knowing that others will have to take all the risks.  He's still mad at the NFL but says the season will go on, because "Tony Fauci" is not the boss of football.  And because the short-fingered vulgarian can't let anything go, now he wants to prosecute whoever revealed that he cowered in his bunker to avoid the scary people with the signs.  Barron and the First Escort helped him "inspect" the place, and besides, it was Barr's idea, and the George Floyd protests were exactly like 9/11 when people were flying planes into buildings, Kennedy probably hid in the bunker during the Cuban missile crisis, they just didn't show it in the movie.  And in conclusion, bone spurs.

"Fox is terrible!" Petomane tweeted just hours ago, and yes, he meant Fox News, not Vivica A. Fox or the studio where Alice Faye made musicals.  Fox News released a poll showing Joe Biden beating his ass 50-38.  Bad Fox News!  Like soccer, football and driving in circles, Fox News has lost a very important viewer.  Whoever Fox News sends to Tulsa tomorrow night can expect to be mobbed and assaulted like all the other enemies of the people.  Do better polls!  Or else!

Also in Twitterese, he's pretending that the ass the Supreme Court handed him yesterday belongs to someone else:  "The Supreme Court asked us to re-submit on DACA, nothing was lost or won.  They 'punted', much like in a football game (where hopefully they would stand for our great American Flag)."  See what he did there?  Started with one sore and wound up by picking a completely different sore, already practicing his free-associative psychosis for Tulsa.  Next page, sure enough, it's all the fault of the Democrats.  Lock her up!  Kenyan Muslim!  Rosie O'Donnell!  Where did that come from?

The Wall Street Journal, bless its heart, tried to siphon off some of the madness yesterday by letting Petomane pretend he was giving an exclusive interview to Michael Bender.  (It should be called the Paywall Street Journal but the choicest bits are here.)  Why was the White Power rally re-scheduled?  "I did that out of respect because I had two African American friends and supporters...I made it famous.  I made Juneteenth very famous...Nobody had heard of it.  Very few people had heard of it."  He means very few white people, of course.  Official people who don't have to shout that their lives matter.  It's been a legal holiday in Texas for forty years.  Ralph Ellison's posthumous novel is called Juneteenth.  "The Trump White House put out a statement [last year]?  Oh, OK, good."  Whatever.  It sounds like his two African American friends were otherwise engaged so he asked a Secret Service agent.  ("You're black, you ever hear of this June holiday thing?  Is it for my birthday?')  It's true:  Before Trump you couldn't say "Merry Juneteenth."

Bender moved on to the Bible stunt, which even Pat Robertson thought was too much.  "I walked a long distance away.  It's like a three block walk."  It's the farthest he has walked since the National Cathedral wouldn't let him use a golf cart for Bush's funeral, that aisle is the longest aisle of any church in the world, OK?  Of course he was too winded to go inside, he could barely hold up that very long Bible, it's over a thousand pages long.  Fortunately there has never been a healthier person in the White House, and the car was there to take him home.  And then it was the goddam ramp again, which has now taken on the properties of an Olympic ski run.  The ramp was slippery, his shoes were slippery, he'd be happy to show Bender how slippery they are, it's a miracle he and the general didn't die.  "If you would have seen this ramp, it was like an ice skating rink."  Because in June it's still frozen over in upstate New York.  He didn't mention the lifts in his shoes, and Bender didn't ask.

John Bolton a "hard liner"?  Trump calls him "a stupid liner."  Isn't that funny?  Bolton is wrong about how Trump approved of Xi putting Uighurs in concentration camps, he was always against it.  He approved "a reprimand, etc., etc." from Congress.  He signed it.  You signed it today, said Bender, suddenly remembering that he's supposed to be a journalist.  Anyway, it was signed.  So no more concentration camps and China will buy all the soybeans and wheat, even though he blamed them in the same interview for the coronavirus.

Call this a tale of two cities:  After Rayshard Brooks was shot in the back, the officer who shot him was fired, the police chief resigned, and the shooter and his partner have now been charged with crimes.  Apart from one fire -- the restaurant that called police -- Atlanta has seen peaceful protests but no violence.  It took less than a week.

Three months after he fired ten shots at Breonna Taylor (some of the bullets penetrating the apartment next door), Brett Hankinson has been "released" by the Louisville metro police.  So far, that's all.

The Los Angeles sheriff's department has also been busy:  They shot a security guard named Andres Guardado because they thought he had a gun.  The day before they shot Terron Jammal Boone, whose half-brother Robert Fuller was found hanging from a tree in Palmdale.  Both are dead.

There has never been a distinction between the Trump campaign and the Trump "administration" -- Bolton's book only reminds us of this -- and now there's a memo from the Homeland Security department suggesting that the red triangle worn by Hitler's political prisoners be consciously and deliberately associated with "Antifa," by which they mean any opposition to Trump.  In case you thought there was any part of the federal government not corrupted by these gangsters.

I don't do social media but I understand Twitter has a policy against sharing "deceptively altered" videos.  And apparently Trump violated it with two crudely doctored manipulations of CNN, which he hates more than most media.  Michael Bender might have asked him about calling reporters "scumbags" and wishing he could jail or kill them for not revealing sources.  Like the sneak who tattled about the bunker!  Bender needs a fedora with a press pass in the hatband, to remind him next time.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Trump is not well

For a group named for the man who urged "malice toward none...charity for all," the Lincoln Project has a penchant for the jugular that any vampire would envy.  It's sometimes hard to remember that it's a Republican outfit headed by Rick Wilson and George "Mr. Kellyanne" Conway, desperate to save what's left of Lincoln's party from the verdict of history.  They want us to see Trump as an aberration rather than the logical conclusion of the extremist project that began with Barry Goldwater and flowered under Ronald Reagan.  But it's hard not to enjoy their attack ads, much more vicious (to employ a favorite Trumpism) than anything the Democrats have put out.

My favorite is still the one where Lindsey Graham calls Trump "a race-baiting, xenophobic bigot" and praises Joe Biden like it's his birthday, but the new one is merciless:  Why did Trump pay an unscheduled visit to Walter Reed?  We see him struggling down the West Point ramp, climbing the steps to Air Force One with toilet paper on his shoe and using both hands to drink water, and best of all, we never hear his whinging voice.  I think the problem with water might be carpal tunnel from all the tweeting, but the unspoken implication is clear:  stroke or dementia.

These guys are fast, too.  Only a day after the Bolton book was excerpted in several newspapers, the Lincoln Project presents "Chyna," detailing how Trump "rolls over" for Xi "like a dog."  (Damn, I love how they pick up his favorite phrases and fire them at him.)  And so far, the best he's come up with by way of witty riposte is to call George Conway "Moonface."

Grist for the mill -- Trump's head is already exploding over the rulings of the Supreme Court that McConnell assured him was completely neutered.  Last week they said LGBT people are first-class citizens, with both Roberts and Gorsuch joining the liberals.  Today they told Obama's "Dreamers" -- the 650,000 people who came here as children with undocumented parents -- that they can stay (for now) because Trump's executive order illegally abolished the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  But it's not about them, is it?  "Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn't like me?" he whined.  "These horrible & politically charged decisions...are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives.  We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else.  Vote Trump 2020!"  That's right, a crummy commercial.  Shotgun blasts, Second Amendment, I think there's a pattern.  I just don't know what it has to do with DACA.  #TrumpIsNotWell

Trump 2020 suffered another defeat when Facebook took down some of its campaign ads just because they feature an inverted red triangle.  This is what Facebook calls "a banned hate group's symbol," the group in question being Heinrich Himmler's SS.  The triangle was worn by "Communists, Social Democrats, liberals, Freemasons" and other member of opposition parties in  concentration camps.  I'm sure a lot of Freemasons are reconsidering their support for Trump right now.  From DACA to Dachau, and it's not even three o'clock.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Here's your blurb, Mr. Bolton

The guy was little more than a sunshine patriot, more grasping than most. But what he has written is important evidence that, yes, electing a reality-show dirigible accused of sexual assault and with a taste for bankruptcies as President* of the United States was not the best idea anyone ever has had.

(Charles P. Pierce)

All together

Executive Order No. 78,632 was Sharpied with great flourish and sycophantic applause yesterday, putting a stop to police brutality and, according to K-Leg, bringing us together.  Not soon enough to prevent a Latino man and an African American teenager "suiciding" from trees in Houston, but they were probably depressed about something.  The order creates a database of particularly violent police, rewards those who can go a year without shooting anyone (an AA-type chip, presumably) and bans chokeholds unless the choker decides it's really, really necessary.  OK?  Today he shuffled out to the Rose Garden with his African American senator, Tim Scott, who got the job of introducing an equally pointless bag of nothing.  Then he lied about Obama and claimed there is an AIDS vaccine.  Another Wednesday in the record books.  PepsiCo accomplished more for racial justice by announcing the removal of Aunt Jemima from its bottles of brown corn syrup.

In other racism news, Steve Mnuchin will finally release $679 million in stimulus funds voted by Congress for Native American businesses, because a judge said he has to.  Again.  Trump's West Palm Beach golf club is also seeking covid relief.  That check is already in the mail.

John Bolton is a twat, but right now he's our twat.  His book Mustache of Destiny or whatever it's called was excerpted in the Wall Street Journal and basically confirms what alert middle-schoolers already knew:  Trump's foreign policy consists of bullying small countries like Ukraine and abasing himself to big ones like China, with no higher goal than getting re-elected.  When Bolton witnessed such shocking things he alerted Generalissimo Barr and White House Counsel Cipollone, who sprang into inaction.  Talking to Robert Mueller or even Rachel Maddow never occurred to him.  Twat.

Coronarama is still on for Tulsa this weekend, but Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department, and even Senator James Lankford (R-OK) seem to be uncomfortable with this "great honor."  Anthony Fauci can't stand to watch, and has begun to question his choice of careers.

Violent police are everyone's problem:  a white woman named Hannah Fizer was shot and killed at a traffic stop by a Pettis County, Missouri, deputy sheriff.  The State Highway Patrol initially claimed she had a gun, but none was found.  There is no dash- or body-cam video because it's too expensive, so this may come down to he said-she dead.  Fizer was 25.

Garrett Rolfe, who shot Rayshard Brooks twice in the back, has been charged with felony murder; his partner Devin Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault.

Edmund Pettus was a Confederate general and head of the Alabama Klan.  The movement to take his name off the infamous bridge and replace it with Rep. John Lewis has gained momentum.  It would be a way for Governor Ivey to redeem her blackface antics in college, if she wants to.  I promise to stop calling her "Poison" for one calendar year.  Is it a deal?

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

So true

Tuesday is kind of a strange day.  It's like February.  It's not the fresh new beginning, nor is it the halfway point.  It's just a hurdle we have to get over.

To rightwing militias, conquistadors are a big deal, apparently.  Protesters in Albuquerque were pulling down a statue of Juan de Onate when one of them was shot.  In one of those colorful incidents from New Mexico's history, Onate had a foot cut off twenty-four indigenous warriors after the killing of his nephew.

As that image came down, another re-emerged, literally.  A granite statue of the Virgin Mary believed to be from the fourteenth century was found in a river near Santiago de Compostela in Spain.  The experts will clean off the moss and try to determine who put it there and why, and especially why the face appears to have been deliberately damaged.  The article in the Guardian also contains my Sentence of the Day:  "A search for a 1.5 meter crocodile spotted in the Pisuerga River in the Castilla y Leon region was last week abandoned amid growing suspicions that the elusive creature was in fact an otter."

Countries are constantly closing their embassies and consular offices to dramatize unhappiness over something or other.  Only North Korea would demolish one and then act all surprised.  After the destruction of its "liaison office" in Kaesong, near the South Korean border, state media said it was "tragically ruined with a terrific explosion."  With the DRNK you can never be sure if it's some kind of Reichstag fire ploy or a gas leak.  I guess we'll find out if troops goose-step back into the demilitarized zones.

In other Asian border news, the most violent clash since 1967 left twenty Indian soldiers dead in Ladakh, a region in the Himalayas claimed by China.  China is always looking for more land and is willing to create more, if necessary.  It also bullies tiny countries like the Solomon Islands to cut ties with Taiwan and sign on with the "One China" policy, which doesn't sound good for Taiwan.  This might be a good time to remind them that the "One Child" policy was a disaster, but that would take a smarter, braver secretary of state than Mike Pompeo.

And a much smarter, less self-obsessed president than BunkerBitch.  He's like a kid before Christmas counting the hours until the big Tulsa virus-fest.  Still stewing about the empty-chair inaugural, Trump insists that a million people ordered tickets for the BOK Center, which holds just under 20,000. (Tulsa itself has a population of 400,000.)  But if the maskless multitude sit on each other's shoulders and hang from the ceiling, how awesome will that be?  Oklahoma reported a record spike in covid cases this week, or as Mike Pence says, "the curve is flattening."  If they would just stop that gosh-darn testing, Mr. Vice President, pardon my French.

Trump is so excited, he's stuttering, and not in a Biden way that he and his toadies can mock.  Last week he wanted us all to know "THE SILENT MAJORITY IS STRONGER THAN EVER!!!"  Today he re-tweeted his own insight, adding, "So true!"  So what?  If Donzo is relying on Nixon's "silent majority," he should get behind voting by mail, since most of them are over eighty.  Anyway, it brightened our day with mocking laughter.

Elsewhere on Twitter the Detectives' Endowment Association, representing 20,000 New York City police detectives, sent out an URGENT SAFETY MESSAGE:  "Tonight, three of our fellow officers were intentionally poisoned by one or more workers at the Shake Shack at 200 Broadway in Manhattan."  The Police Benevolent Association (whose president is actually named Lynch, I wanted to get that out) was more incendiary:  "When NYC police officers cannot even take meal without coming under attack, it is clear that environment in which we work has deteriorated to a critical level.  We cannot afford to let our guard down for even a moment."  On closer investigation it turned out someone did not properly clean a piece of shake-making equipment.  Clearly repairing relations between police and citizens has a long road ahead.  More to the point, is this how the NYPD investigates crimes?  Shoot first and apologize later, when it turns out the man riddled with bullets was reaching for his wallet?  (Yes. It is.)

Coincidentally, the Washington Post has a lengthy analysis of police using social media to discredit and encourage violence against peaceful protesters, including that damned elusive Antifa.  A long, long road ahead.

One black man hanging from a tree might be suicide; two looks like a murderous trend.  Malcolm Harsch's body was found near the library in Victorville.  There are far easier ways to kill yourself.  This just stinks to heaven.

Professor Christopher Conselice at the University of Nottingham has done all the cosmic calculations you could want and says there are at least "36 active civilizations in our Galaxy."  Funny thing is, the others say only thirty-five.


Monday, June 15, 2020

The end of the affair

Two years after he made big promises but failed to put a ring on it, North Korea sees "no future benefit" in the Kim-Trump bromance.  They must have heard that he's in a virtual tie with Biden in Arkansas.

The news from Mother Russia is even worse:  Russian state television (i.e., Putin) is openly laughing about the "black riots" and calling Trump weak.  Could the bots be preparing to stand down in this election?

Getting into the spirit of civil rights perhaps, the Supreme Court ruled that existing law forbids job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and transgender status.  No doubt the usual suspects will "discover" that Roberts is a colonel in Obama's army, or Gorsuch is in the pay of Soros, or whatever batshit conspiracy narrative helps them cope with the world.  Not to worry, evangelicals, Trump's HHS is still determined that health care providers be allowed to discriminate against trans people, LGBT and women seeking abortions, so...friends?

Today we learned that Mary Trump has written a less-than-flattering book about Uncle Don to be published in August.  It's almost as if she or her publisher believes he won't be of such compelling interest in a few months.  Jeez, you refuse to cover the medical bills for one nephew with cerebral palsy and people treat you like a monster.

Trump isn't at all worried about John Bolton's book, he just thinks the author will have "criminal problems" when it goes on sale next week.  Once again, it's a question of time  -- the DOJ has not been able to comb through it for confidential material.  "I don't know of any book that has been published so quickly while the officeholders are still in government," Bagpipe Bill complained.  Tick tock, Bill.  Is your resume ready to send out?

Trumpanzees gathered in Walker, Michigan, to burn letters advising that they can apply for absentee ballots.  Not the ballots, not even the applications, the letters.  The envelopes too, I assume. Fire pretty!  You can also request a ballot online, so expect Cletus to burn his computer next.  Oh no, I forgot -- the porn.

With over two million cases and more than 118,000 deaths, Trump has finally figured out this whole COVID-19 deal:  "If we stop testing right now, we'd have very few cases, if any."  Just a lot of mysteriously dead people.  Meanwhile, let's get those businesses open again.

Sometimes I think I'm the one who's insane.


Sunday, June 14, 2020

No day of rest

Don't mess with the military.  Joe McCarthy was riding high until he tangled with the Army.  Trump forced the chairman of the Joint Chiefs to participate in his appalling photo-op.  Then he insisted that cadets assemble at West Point despite coronavirus concerns so he could read a speech to be used in campaign videos.  The Army retaliated by making him struggle down a ramp, which he described as "very long and steep, had no handrail, and most importantly, was very slippery."  Very funny, too.  I don't have much use for long-distance medical diagnoses -- I remember Senator-Doctor Bill Frist insisting that Terri Schiavo was just taking a long nap -- but at least one psychiatrist recommends a brain scan.  It can't hurt.

Anxious to get back into Trump's favor, Fox News is obsessed with the "anarchist takeover" of Seattle.  When they couldn't find suitable images of damaged buildings there, they slipped in one from Minneapolis.  When they alleged leadership problems in the CHAZ, some merry person posted a reference to "an anarcho-syndicalist commune" which Martha MacCallum read on the air, unaware that it was an allusion to Monty Python and the Holy Grail and a politically engaged peasant called Dennis (Michael Palin).  I believe this is known in the trade as "owning the right."

US Soccer has repealed a rule requiring players to stand for the national anthem, and consequently has lost a viewer.  NASCAR, the NFL and now this -- what will Trump switch over to during commercials on the Tucker Carlson show?  Maybe there won't be any.  Comcast is also unperturbed by the latest Official Presidential Threats intended to bring CNN and NBC to their knees.  The company survived Mike Huckabee comparing it unfavorably to the Mafia -- Huck is the Shecky Green of the GOP -- and they'll probably ride this out, too.

Another victory for Black Lives Matter:  Band-Aid chose this moment to announce its new line of skin-tone bandages.  About time.  Crayola stopped labeling its pinkish-white crayon as "flesh" at least fifty years ago, during the last civil rights movement.

Washington saw its largest specifically religious gathering since the death of George Floyd, as thousands of people marched from the National Museum of African American History and Culture to the White House.  Trump and Ivanka's Bible did not join them but he did not have them tear gassed either, because he was cowering in the bunker playing golf.  The organizers enforced social distancing and the wearing of masks, so there was no need to insist that participants sign waivers like the ones required next week in Tulsa.  Because Trump accepts responsibility for nothing, including the sickness and/or death of his own cult.

Some marchers may have been contemplating the death of Robert Fuller, a 24-year-old black man found hanging from a tree near city hall in Palmdale, California.  After ruling him a suicide, authorities decided to order an autopsy and "further investigation."

There may finally be action on the killing of Breonna Taylor now that BeyoncĂ© has written to the attorney general of Kentucky.  I wish I were joking.

You should read today's column by Fintan O'Toole, who lived in New York City during the "Giuliani time."

Saturday, June 13, 2020

This is not a game

Twitter exchange of the week:  "Radical Left Governor @JayInslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before.  Take back your city NOW.  If you don't do it, I will.  This is not a game.  These ugly Anarchists must be stopped IMMEDIATELY.  MOVE FAST."

Mayor Jenny Durkan:  "Make us all safe.  Go back to your bunker."

No one who employs Steve Mnuchin and Kellyanne Conway ever gets to call anyone else "ugly."  But I digress.  Four city blocks?  Seattle would have laughed at these vegan hippies in 1919.  And Seattle will piss Trump off even more if the Seahawks sign Colin Kaepernick.

A fourteen-point lag in the polls can focus the mind wonderfully, and someone decided it best not to make the blacks feel "slighted."  Accordingly Trump will take his knee off Juneteenth and postpone the Tulsa hate rally until the following night.  What more could those people want?  Harriet Tubman on the twenty?  Might still be possible...

Symbolism fans will be tickled to hear that the decaying complex of buildings known as Trump Plaza in Atlantic City has finally been scheduled for demolition.  It's taken this long because specialists had to clean out the asbestos first.  Surprisingly, no Mercer or Koch has offered to preserve it so future generations can see that once it was actually possible to bankrupt a casino.

Two books will "drop" this week, a John Bolton tell-all that hints of Trump shaking down more countries than Ukraine and a Mary Jordan thriller about Melania-as-gold digger.  You don't suppose the Jordan book is timed to distract attention from the gangster foreign policy stuff, do you, me neither.  (BTW, looks like the First Escort held onto her Slovenian passport.  Smart.)

Every time we think we're starting to climb out of the endless cycle of violence, they pull us back in.  Rayshard Brooks was sleeping in his car at a Wendy's in Atlanta when police rolled up and did a field sobriety test, which they say he failed.  Brooks clearly did not want to be arrested -- yes, of course there's video -- so one officer tried to tase him.  He grabbed the taser and ran away; he may have fired it but to me it seemed he was too far away to hit the police.  Then he was shot and killed.  The Atlanta police chief has already resigned.   "Groundhog Day" is how Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin described it, every day the same damn thing.

Speaking of the repetitious, Americans continue to exercise their Second Amendment rights as if nothing else had happened.  A man who was denied admission to a San Antonio bar came back with his rifle and shot eight people.  The end of lockdown has provided ample targets once again.

The antiracist protesters have turned their wrath on Columbus, beheading statues and demanding their removal.  Columbus was by his own account a kidnapper of indigenous Caribbeans for enslavement and rape and a mass murderer, and Italian Americans can certainly choose from a pantheon of more attractive figures to commemorate.  I recommend Vito Marcantonio, the now-forgotten progressive Congressman who represented East Harlem for seven terms from the American Labor Party.

Funny story -- it seems Poland accidentally invaded and annexed a small part of the Czech Republic last month, while everyone was stressed out about the covid pandemic.  It's all been sorted now and there is no chance of another European war.   Probably.