Monday, August 10, 2020

The shape of things to come

Puerto Ricans vote in much higher numbers than mainland Americans, around 70 percent, but many were turned away from last week's primaries because there were no ballots and the polling places were closed.  The vote has been re-scheduled for fifty of 110 precincts.  Nobody can explain how this happened.

The presidential election in Belarus went off as planned, and as planned, Alexander Lukashenko won eighty percent of the vote.   For some reason, thousands of Belarussians thought this was fishy and took to the streets of Minsk, battling with heavily armed police.

Sometimes it takes just one more outrage.  In this country it was the murder of George Floyd.  In Lebanon it was the explosion that wrecked the port and surrounding neighborhood in Beirut.  Prime Minister Hassan Diab and his cabinet have resigned, with Diab admitting, "The corruption is greater than the state."  Perhaps he would have held on, but thousands of fed-up Lebanese have also been demonstrating their rage and frustration.  

Invest in tear gas companies.  Another police shooting in Chicago led to violence, but this was not protest.  "This was straight-up felony," said Mayor Lori Lightfoot of the suspiciously well-organized looting of high-end retailers.  The city has also resumed its schedule of civilian shootings.

Russia has 893,000 confirmed covid cases and 15,000 deaths, officially.  That's nothing compared to America's proud five million cases, but it seems Russians are unhappy with their government's response, too.  That coupled with the arrest of Sergei Fugal, who defeated Putin's candidate for regional governor, has brought thousands into the streets of Khabarovsk (way in the east near the Chinese border, I finally found it on the map) for weeks.  I'm surprised Trump hasn't offered Cousin Vlad some DHS goons to "restore order" as they did in Portland.

But Trump has been busy all day fighting with his own party.  Last month he told Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, "Do you know it's my dream to have my face on Mount Rushmore?"  "He was totally serious," she reports.  Today he denied it, essentially calling her a liar.  I'm not wasting any sympathy on her, nor on Sen. Ben Sasse of neighboring Nebraska, who had unkind things to say about the Big Executive Order Blowout ("unconstitutional slop" was the most colorful).  Trump has branded him with the dreaded acronym RINO and stopped just this side of claiming Sasse begged for the imperial endorsement "with tears in his eyes."   But Trump's disfunction was most in evidence when he took a call from Sugar Daddy No. 1, Sheldon Adelson.  Adelson wanted to talk about the economy and the response, if you can call it that, to the pandemic.  Instead, he got yelled at for not giving enough money to the campaign.  Sure, why not push him downstairs in his wheelchair, too?  

Wait, it gets zanier.  I have no problem with Trump giving his acceptance speech in a cemetery, just not Gettysburg.  If he's determined to wrap himself in the Civil War, there's a spot in Georgia called Andersonville that would be far more appropriate.  But today there's someone even more muddled than Trump -- his personal lawyer Bill Barr.  In an appearance with one of the lesser Foxters Barr called Black Lives Matter communists, fascists, socialists and Bolsheviks in the space of an hour.  I haven't heard about Bolsheviks in quite some time.  It's almost as if he doesn't understand words, or history.

All-purpose abuse words signal that you are not a serious person.  Vladimir Putin, the biggest fascist in Europe and disciple of Ivan Ilyin, routinely calls his opponents fascists because it's a dirty word in Russia (as "communist" was here, ironically).  The difference between Putin and Hitler is that Hitler didn't denigrate enemies by calling them fascists.  (Also, for all the stunts and photo-ops, Putin has the personal charisma of a bar of soap.  There are some things you can't fake.)  Big Bill is flailing and sweating like a stage magician with a dead rabbit.  It's hilarious.  

And even funnier, Nikki Haley was on the Twitter complaining that the Popcorn Factory was late in delivering two birthday orders, what with the li'l ol' pandemic and the Post Office being kneecapped by the Trump regime.  Popcorn for birthdays?  Sure you can afford it, ambassador?  Oh, well, I choose to laugh not because it is easy, but because it is hard.  You are a Karen.


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