Thursday, August 20, 2020

Schadenfreude Week


The Democratic National Zoom Convention peaked too early, with unforgettable speeches by Gaby Giffords, Barack Obama and Kamala Harris.  Joe Biden is going to have a hard time topping them -- he's never been one to bring the thunder and lightning.  Not to worry -- reality has stepped up to make this a memorable Thursday.

Our top story:  Steve Bannon is under arrest.  You may remember him from such films as "American Carnage" and "Save the Judeo-Christian World from Islam."  Then he put together a new scam, "We Build the Wall," a crowd-fund that took in $25 million and, according to the acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, spent almost none of it on WALL.  Even tastier, their general counsel is Kris Kobach and the advisory board includes former Milwaukee sheriff David Clarke, former Congressman Tom Tancredo, former pitcher Curt Schilling, and Erik Prince, private "security" contractor and brother of Betsy DeVos.  No charges for them yet but it's only lunchtime.  Apparently mail fraud was involved; as Charlie Pierce wrote, "Steve Bannon got busted by the Postal Service police.  Well played, irony."  No telling how this will affect his "Academy for the Judeo-Christian West," but it may be just what Italian authorities need to evict the "populist" hate school from its 800-year-old monastery in Collepardo. 

United Steelworkers Local 2 is holding a rally of Goodyear workers in response to Trump's call for a boycott over the company's ban on political clothing.  Goodyear is one of the biggest employers in Akron, which is in Ohio, which is a swing state, which anyone slightly less stupid than Trump would have known before launching a tweet.  In an economy reeling from Trumplague, most people would rather leave their red hats at home than lose a good union job, but please tell me once more what a political genius Trump is.

As Putin confronts the possibility of losing puppets allies in Minsk and Washington, he seems to be getting more reckless, or more nervous.  It's not good timing that opposition leader Alexei Navalny is in the ICU after "suspected poisoning."  By now Putin's opponents should know better than to drink tea anywhere. 

Another baseless lawsuit went down in flames as Judge Victor Marrero ruled that District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., can too see Trump's tax returns.  Still no tweet about Marrero's "bias" but as I said...lunchtime.  (The judge was born in Puerto Rico and appointed by Bill Clinton.  Does that help?)

It's Infrastructure Week in China, as the Three Gorges Dam deals with record levels of water after two months of extreme rain.   A breach would be "embarrassing" for China, says the Guardian, not to mention fatal for tens of millions.

Asteroid 2020QG flew within 1,830 miles of the earth last Sunday, the closest any object has come (that we know of).  The car-size rock skidded past, but I can't shake the feeling that something is getting our range.  Maybe the mysterious Oumuamua (Hawaiian for "scout").

Preet tweets!  Tweet of the day from former US attorney Preet Bharara: "Is Mexico going to pay Steve Bannon's bail?"

From Donald Trump, Jr., at a 2018 event for We Build The Wall:  "This is private enterprise at its finest.  Doing it better, faster, cheaper than anything else.  What you guys are doing is amazing."

From Donald Trump, Sr., August 20, 2020:  "I know nothing about the project other than that I didn't like it.  I said this is for government, this isn't for private people...And it sounded to me like showboating."  (Can you stand any more irony?  Bannon was arrested on his boat.)



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