Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Chocks away!

 Are you pumped?  I can't understand why CNN doesn't have one of those countdown clocks in the corner -- they've done it for other non-events.  Meanwhile, so much is happening.

The flying monkeys went on the attack last night, with Sean Hannity demanding to see the tax returns of The New York Times.  As it's a publicly traded company he could probably access them online in about thirty seconds, but SpongeSean's audience must have cheered his brilliant riposte.  Then Rudolph Giuliani called the Couch Crew to claim that Joe Biden "has dementia.  There's no doubt about it.  I've talked to doctors."  He even named Trump's drug of choice, Adderall, because he's an idiot.  And Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) knows the real scandal is not Trump's years of tax avoidance and financial chicanery but the fact that all our suspicions have been confirmed:  he wants an investigation to find out who committed "a felony crime" by handing the records to the Times, destroying all of Steve Mnuchin's hard work in concealing them.  (For Hunter Biden, as I recall, he had photocopies ready to distribute.)

Over at the Guardian, Wilfred Chan went in search of more tangible evidence of the way Trump operates and found, with some difficulty, Donald J. Trump State Park just north of New York City.  Purchased in 1998 for $2.5 million (of someone else's money, no doubt) for the purpose of creating yet another failed golf course, it was donated to the state in 2006.  Dimwitted governor George Pataki accepted Trump's claim that the land was worth $100 million for tax-deduction purposes and agreed to the vanity stipulation that it always bear the Trump name prominently displayed.  And so it is, at the entrance to what Chan calls "bramble bushes and an empty field with bits of trash."  A local attempt to turn it into a dog park was abandoned because its structures are full of asbestos, another Trump trademark.  Maybe that's why no real developer has tried to build there and discovered the bodies of former Trump associates who -- perhaps I've said too much.

 In the Washington Post yesterday Max Boot -- yeah, the guy with the hat -- explained why Trump always saw the presidency as a marketing opportunity (successor to The Apprentice) and a way to get out from under some of his debt mountain.  Apart from the extra-Constitutional rule that sitting presidents can't be prosecuted, he always had his eye on the emoluments.  (It explains why he covets that "Noble Prize," which comes with a check for nearly a million and a gold medal he can flog on eBay.  I always wondered why a tycoon was so familiar with eBay, the People's Sotheby's.  Who bid on Ivana's and Marla's wedding rings?)  Paul Krugman, an actual Nobel laureate, once observed that Trump would be better off now if he had put Fred's money into a savings account.  "Midas in reverse" is the phrase he uses in today's Irish Times, which goes on to describe how his cupidity and incompetence may wreck what's left of the economy.  Who was the last tycoon to hold this job?  My sources say it was Herbert Hoover.  Clearly Hoover, who rose from modest circumstances, was no Trump, but when the 1920s bubble burst it turned out the man who so skillfully organized famine relief for Europe after World War I had no earthly clue about macroeconomics, which is why his name still makes capitalists shiver.  Be afraid.

Continuing to explain away a disastrous performance that is still hours away, the Trump campaign and its PR department at Fox News are spreading the rumor that Biden will be using an earpiece to supply him with "facts" and other debating ammunition not available to Trump.  It's nothing new -- the Republicans regularly deploy this against more capable candidates.  Joe Biden doesn't need my advice but I'll offer it anyway:  Agree to a cavity search, pee in a cup, whatever they ask.  Then demand that the lecterns be removed.  If President Shoelifts has to stand for more than five minutes with nothing to lean on, wheezing and sniffing under those hot lights, tilted forward like a fat Jacques Tati, he's done.   

Monday, September 28, 2020

Small and venal

 The first debate is a little more than twenty-four hours away and one contestant is sweating off his orange clown makeup.  He probably had that dream where you have to take an exam and you've never been to class or opened the book.  And Joe Shapiro isn't available to take it for you.

For a start, Trump still thinks mental competence can be created chemically, as in the movie Charly:  "I will be strongly demanding a Drug Test of Sleepy Joe Biden prior to, or after, the Debate on Tuesday night.  Naturally, I will agree to take one also."  Ask your doctor if Cerebroslam is right for you.  Meanwhile he invented a bigly new word:  "forgivetisnessen."  Biden may be in trouble if Trump plans to conduct the debate in Finnegans Wake meta-English.  Meanwhile a Biden campaign spokesperson, who deserves to be known by name, replied, "Vice President Biden intends to deliver his debate answers in words.  If the president thinks his best case is made in urine he can have at it.  We'd expect nothing less from Donald Trump, who pissed away the chance to protect the lives of 200,000 Americans when he didn't make a plan to stop Covid-19."  Ouch.

Trump's plan is said to be attacking Hunter Biden in order to reduce his father to a stuttering, twitching wreck.  That's it.  When you play golf and promote pandemic instead of doing your homework, the options are limited.  The moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News, can only help you so much, by steering the conversation away from the catastrophic revelations in the New York Times, which managed to obtain Trump's tax records when prosecutors, attorneys general and members of Congress could not.  "A pitifully inept businessman and a serial tax avoider," said his old nemesis CNN, sounding almost sorry for him.  More typical was the response of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:  "In 2016 and '17 I paid thousands of dollars a year in taxes as a bartender.  Trump paid $750."

The politics are ugly enough, but over at Bloomberg they follow the money.   It's their opinion that "Trump represents a profound national security threat -- a threat that will only escalate if he's re-elected."   His enormous debts are payable in the next four years to lenders in Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and shifty institutions like Deutsche Bank.  It's not hard to imagine who might have to die to keep the bill collectors from escorting Junior and Eric to an abandoned pier.  I'm imagining it right now.  He can't afford the First Escort's pre-nup but managed to pay Ivanka "consulting fees" of $747,622, the precise amount he wrote off for hotel projects in Hawaii and Vancouver.  It was the least he could do after being talked out of making Princess his running mate in 2016.  As god is my waitress, it's right here.  By the way, we still haven't got an accounting of all the inaugural costs and campaign contributions.  If I were Sheldon Adelson I wouldn't take his calls.

Trump has one campaign manager in prison, one under indictment, and now one under a 72-hour psychiatric hold.  Brad Parscale's wife called police because he was armed and threatening to kill himself; she had bruises on her arms.  He was canned after the disastrous Tulsa rally last June.  I believe Roseanne Barr is currently running the campaign.  She needs to get everyone on the same page:  Trump just announced that the US is "rounding the corner" on the pandemic, moments after Mike Pence said, "The American people should anticipate that cases will rise in the days ahead."  I am reminded of the Vietnam War, in which victory was only months away.

I don't know if you've noticed but war has broken out in the Caucasus between Azerbaijan and Armenia.  What makes it interesting is Turkey throwing in on the side of Azerbaijan.  They can really carry a grudge, can't they?

Jacob Blake is still partially paralyzed but Rusten Sheskey, the pride of the Kenosha police, has come up with an excuse for making him that way:  He thought Blake was kidnapping a child.  Charges have not been filed against Sheskey, who is being paid to sit at home.   Protests over the shooting have produced  another Rightzi hero, Kyle Rittenhouse, who had his mom drive him over from Illinois to kill two people and wound a third in defense of Kenosha's endangered retail sector, just like a Minuteman in 1775.  They were probably armed with soup.

I don't know if you've noticed but war has broken out between Dr. Robert Redfield of the CDC and Scott Atlas, the Fox News contributor and professional X-ray reader who tells Trump what he wants to hear.  "Everything he says is false," Redfield said in a phone conversation he later denied.  Deborah Birx had bigger balls.  Meanwhile, over 204,000 Americans are dead.    

 Just last Friday Nancy Pelosi was advising Biden to skip the debates because Trump "has no fidelity to fact or truth...[or] to the Constitution of the United States."  But that was before the Times dropped its tax bomb.  Now I think it might be fun.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Virtually nobody

 Wall Street doesn't donate:  it bets.  And according to CNN it's doubling down on a Biden victory despite an advanced program of election abuse.  Apparently cutting corporate taxes to pre-World War I levels just doesn't buy as much loyalty as it used to.

It's not just Trump who's shaking the tin cup.  Lindsey Graham went on "Two Foul Balls and a Miss" to whine that "they" are showering money on Jaime Harrison because "they hate my guts."  No, Lindsey, you have no guts.  

Trump told a mob of maskless fans in Swanton, Ohio, to chill about the Trumpandemic:  "It affects elderly people.  Elderly people with heart problems and other problems...You know, in some states, thousands of people, nobody young."  Then someone reminded him that old people who are still alive can hear him, so he announced a scheme to bribe them with a $200 "gift card" to pay for prescription drugs.  That would cover about two months for some people and would cost over six billion dollars, but nothing's too good for "our wonderful senior citizens."   So this is the prescription drug reform he's been promising for four years.  Can you use it at Wendy's? 

Chanting "Vote him out!" mourners at the Supreme Court booed Trump as they waited to walk past Ruth Bader Ginsburg's coffin.  So Republican congressional leaders paid her the tribute of staying the hell away as she was brought to lie in state at the Capitol.  Perhaps Andrew Cuomo will reconsider his decision to put a statue of RBG in Brooklyn.  I am against all statues except the image of Elvis in butter which graces the Ohio State Fair.  Spend that money to hire more public defenders, Governor. 

John Cornyn's campaign has branded his Democratic opponent MJ Heggar a "radical" because she has progressive policies and a lot of tattoos.  Heggar retorted, "They cover my shrapnel wounds from when my helicopter was shot down" by the Taliban in Afghanistan.  Unless he's being uncharacteristically modest about it, Cornyn never put on a uniform.  If the race tightens they'll probably claim Heggar made the whole thing up.  It worked with Max Cleland and John Kerry.

Julian Assange is fighting extradition in London and his lawyer says his situation will be worse if Trump is re-elected.  Yes, Julian, everyone's will, but most of us were not instrumental in installing him in the first place.  Let me refresh your memory:  "But her emails!"

Idiot Quote of the Week:  "Is man really capable of altering the course of an infectious disease through crowd control?" Rand Paul asked Dr. Anthony Fauci.  I didn't go to the Duke University School of Medicine, Senator, but I thought of one straight off:  Dr. John Snow had the handle removed from a single pump and ended a cholera outbreak in London in 1854.  No drugs, no vaccines.  That settles it --   Paul is not doing my laser eye surgery.  Read the whole exchange, it's glorious.  Fauci must be thinking, "I'm 78, why am I still dealing with cafones like this?"

The Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is described as a "nationalist," which is code for "asshole."  Farmers in the state of Chihuahua are enraged because he is repaying "water debts" to the US while they endure a drought.  Greg Abbott is annoyed that Mexico is not watering Texas as required by a 1944 treaty.  This is going to come up again as the climate inexorably changes and politicians like these pretend it isn't.  The US will quit the Paris climate agreement on November 4,  just as the election violence kicks off.  Like the coronavirus, the planet doesn't care about our politics.

Attica Scott, the only Black female state representative in Kentucky, was charged with first-degree rioting for protesting the murder of Breonna Taylor.  Taylor's killer, who "wantonly and blindly" (said the Louisville PD) fired ten times into Taylor's apartment, will face one charge of endangering the lives of her neighbors.  Yeah, that 1619 Project is way off base.  No racism here!

Trump's keepers need to make sure that he's not only powdered and diapered before a hate-rally but also gets his Lunchables.  He's become weirdly obsessed with food.  First it was the free ad for Goya products, then protesters were destroying cities with bags of soup.   Then he practically soiled himself describing how cops threw MSNBC reporter Ali Velshi around "like he was a little bag of popcorn."  Now it's canned tuna.   "They throw it, it's the perfect weight...put a curve ball on it."  (Trump was recruited by all sorts of teams.  Steinbrenner came up to him with tears in his eyes...)  Stop at the golden arches, I'm begging you.


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Christopher and his kind

Reading his memoir Hitch-22 and random essays, I find myself wondering what Christopher Hitchens would say about the pathetic state of his adopted country if cancer had not ended his life in 2011.  So I was eager to read Salman Rushdie's conversation with Martin Amis (perhaps the only person Hitchens ever really loved) in Interview magazine.  Amis's new novel Inside Story is apparently an account of his own life in the style of Rushdie's Joseph Anton (the story of a novelist who finds himself the object of a fatwa from a mad cleric); evidently fiction and autobiography have given up and joined hands.  

After some fascinating writer-chat, they get down to it:  what would their mutual friend, who despised both Clintons, have done in 2016?  Rushdie suggests he "would have had a problem" because he hated liars, and Amis recalls that Hitchens jumped on Hillary Clinton's claim to have been named after Sir Edmund Hillary because the ascent of Everest occurred after she was born.  Rushdie points out that Trump is "a more outrageous liar," but they never quite get back to how (or if) their friend would have voted.  All they can agree on is that "Trump is anti-journalism.  And that's who Christopher was, apart from anything else.  He was a journalist."  

The topic they never discuss at all is Hitchens's clear problem with women.  Not that the author of "Why Women Aren't Funny" would have acknowledged it.   It's one thing to go from The New Statesman to palling around with Paul Wolfowitz but misogyny is a step too far.  Did Hillary lie?  Or did her parents tell her a story about her unusual name?  Parents do.  As Hitch's favorite poet memorably wrote, "They fuck you up, your mum and dad."  Elizabeth Warren's mother set her up for future embarrassment by exaggerating their Cherokee ancestry.  Patti LuPone was told she is descended from the famous soprano Adelina Patti.  Orson Welles may have been fictionalizing (he often did) or he may have believed his great-grandfather was Gideon Welles, Lincoln's secretary of the navy.   It's not like you're the Tichborne Claimant if you genuinely believe something dubious about yourself.   Had Bill Clinton ne Blythe claimed to be related to Maurice Barrymore (also ne Blythe), would he had earned the Wrath of Hitch?

Hitchens famously despised organized religion and all its proponents, but the only one who got a book-length diatribe was Mother Teresa -- not Graham, Wojtyla, Falwell or any of the other guys.  He was appalled at the outpouring of grief for Princess Diana ("the Spencer girl," as he contemptuously called her), though I can't recall any such problem with Elvis or Michael Jackson.  All these people losing their minds over a woman they never met!   Of course the Celebrity Death Ritual goes back at least as far as Rudolph Valentino in 1926.  Hitchens knew that.  In Hitch-22 he and Amis drunkenly agree that women ought to have their breasts and buttocks on the same side, the better to enhance male pleasure and convenience.  That's not how you talk about people you consider fully human.  That sounds like something Trump might say, if he had any imagination.

Also in Hitch-22 there's a report of his encounter with Margaret Thatcher that is downright creepy.  The heart wants what it wants, I guess, but being spanked by the prime minister with a magazine, in front of witnesses, and obsessing about it later...maybe it wasn't 9/11 that turned him into a neo-con.  Maybe Hillary Clinton just wasn't strict enough for him.  I can't imagine what it's like to travel to Athens to claim your mother's body after she and her lover have killed themselves  -- a woman you always called "Yvonne" because she was too glamorous for "Mummy" -- but I see what Larkin meant.  In his notorious yet playful essay Hitchens delved into "Why Women Aren't Funny."  Imagine him generalizing about any other group:  "Why Gay People Drink Too Much," say, or "Why Asians Drive Badly."  The mind won't go there.   

Here's what I think:  Hitchens would be eviscerating Trump on a daily basis, surpassing even Borowitz, Pierce and The Lincoln Project.  But he would never have voted for Clinton, and he'd be finding reasons not to vote for Kamala Harris.  As someone he never believed in remarked, it's hard to deal with the speck of dust in the other guy's eye when yours is occluded by a chunk of wood.  


Monday, September 21, 2020

Don't mourn, organize

 It was unrealistic to expect an 87-year-old woman to fend off the grip of cancer indefinitely just to save our stumbling republic.  It was equally unrealistic to expect its enemies to maintain a decent silence for even twenty-four hours.  I was too sad to write about Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday night and now, thanks to McConnell, Trump, Joni Ernst, the vaudeville team of Burkman and Wohl and numerous others, I'm almost too angry.

Dana Milbank's elegy in the Washington Post located Justice Ginsburg's life in Jewish tradition, noting that she died on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, when the Book of Life is opened.  By tradition she would already have been buried, but her place in American life called for public mourning and tribute.  Do I read this right:  no woman has ever lain in state at the Capitol before?  (Rosa Parks lay "in honor."  In repose, in state, what does it all mean?)  And the first Jew?  What a lot of progress we are making.  Well, some of us.

It took Moscow's Bitch less than ninety minutes to remind us of his "lame duck" rule which prohibits presidents from appointing justices in their last year.  I'm joking, of course -- why, only last week names of distinguished jurists like Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz were being floated, almost as if there was a spy reporting from RBG's hospital room.  Lindsey Graham jumped down off Trump's lap to agree, and Joni Ernst (R-IA) had her fundraising email ready to go.  (She has since apologized for being a classless, predatory, spiteful hick, but she'd like your vote anyway.)  Then the MSM began cooing about how nice it was that RBG was so friendly with vicious reactionary Antonin Scalia and sighing that such civility has vanished.  (They were probably the only people in the building who liked opera.  You can't talk about the weather every time you have to be polite.)  

Without a singe crass email the Democrats raised $90 million on Friday night, and more people gathered spontaneously in front of the Supreme Court than attended the last inauguration.  Trump has hated Ginsburg since 2016 when she called him "a faker" and expressed incredulity that he was still concealing his tax returns, but somebody in the campaign had enough sense to talk him out of a twitter tirade/gloat.  (Probably wants to introduce his insulting nickname -- "I called her Rotten Ruthie" -- at the next coronavirus meet & greet.)  RBG told her granddaughter Clara Spera, "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."  Now Trump has called Spera a liar:  "That came out of the wind.  It sounds so beautiful [sic!] but that sounds like a Schumer deal, or maybe a Pelosi or Shifty Schiff that came out of the wind.  Let's see, I mean, maybe she did, maybe she didn't."  Unfortunately Bob Woodward and his recording device were not present.  He then promised to appoint a woman, possibly Barbara Lagoa because she is Cuban-American and Florida is up for grabs.  

A handful of Republican senators (Collins, Murkowski and Romney) have made throat-clearing sounds of disappointment at the unseemly haste, but I wouldn't depend on one of them to call 911 for me if I were bleeding from the head.  If the worst happens, Joe Biden has talked about enlarging the Court to neutralize the fascism, but that didn't work when FDR tried it.  But first we have to overcome the pandemic, the trashed postal service, the red-state voter suppression machinery and the Russians and elect Biden and a Democratic Senate.  

Mourn.  Organize.  Stay angry.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Control the past

 Having polluted the foreign service, the postal service, the public health establishment and every department under Cabinet control, Trump is turning his limited attention to the teaching of history.  Still enraged about the 1619 Project, he (Stephen Miller) has responded with the cleverly named 1776 Commission, dedicated to the promotion of "patriotic" (i.e. rightwing) American history.  At last "patriotic moms and dads" will no longer have to worry about their children learning the unpleasant facts about slavery, genocide, lynching, bigotry, and how the Electoral College prevents democracy.  As he read this campaign speech at the National Archives, the original Constitution and Declaration of Independence failed to crumble into dust behind him; we may be 27th out of 82 countries in social mobility but we're number one in preserving eighteenth-century manuscripts.

I've googled the hell out of "White House History Conference" and I can't find out who gave cover to this farrago -- maybe they wore face masks and hats and turned up their collars.  Apparently one was Larry Arnn, who has turned Hillsdale College into a right-wing fink tank.  Then I came across this tweet from David W. Blight:  "DT's claims for 'patriotic' history yesterday finally drew me into twitter.  Will I regret this?  Shame on Guelzo for lending himself to that stunt, and helping profane the National Archives."  That would be Allen Guelzo, who is connected with the Heritage  Foundation and attacked The 1619 Project as "revisionist history."  I imagine self-described historians Bill O'Reilly and Newton Gingrich were there, if only in spirit.  

All history is "revisionist."  Otherwise there would be no point in adding to it.  We already have Herodotus and Gibbon and Taine, right?  Who needs another damned square thick book, eh?

All people need to know their history.  Not to know what happened before you were born is to remain always a child, said someone (Cicero?  Groucho?).  America's problem, surpassing all others, is that it's full of large, ignorant, angry, undisciplined children who can own guns, make babies and, at certain terrible times, live in the White House.  Welcome to terrible times.

Most Americans know less about history than they do about virology, so they have little choice but to believe nonsense.  These people tend to vote for people who know as little as they do, because the ignorant are encouraged to dislike experts.  They probably wouldn't hire a plumber who didn't know how a Stillson wrench works,  but being a Leader is easy, ain't it?  And so we end up with senators like Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who clearly doesn't believe in revision.  She tweets, "We will never rewrite the Constitution of the United States," blissfully unaware of the twenty-seven revisions (or Amendments) which have accrued since 1789.  They took away her right to own people but they gave her the right to vote, so she's doing fine.  I should send her a list.

The most appalling thing I read this week had nothing to do with the millions of deaths Trump is prepared to accept in the name of "herd inanity" or whatever he calls it.   It was an article which said a majority of young adults never heard of the Holocaust or think it's a myth.  How is this possible in the face of overwhelming evidence, some from living survivors?  Anti-Semitic hate crimes are the highest since the Anti-Defamation League started keeping records in 1979.  Only the need to report on the killing of Black people keeps this from being more widely noticed, which is far from comforting.  Trumpers display swastikas as casually as Confederate flags.  This is not even to speak of crimes against Asians, Native Americans, Muslims and, perpetually, women.  Those who forget the past...but it's the present, and if we teach the young that all's for the best in this best of all possible countries, we're doomed to repeat it and repeat it.  I'm not a historian or a teacher, I don't know how to do this -- re-release Schindler's List every year?  I only know how not to do it.  

Let's start by agreeing that nothing is "worse than slavery" and stop slinging the word around.  Can we do that much?  Baby steps.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Herd mentality

Most people made up their minds about Trump on January 21, 2017, when Sean Spicer announced that the sparse crowd on the Mall the day before was "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period."  Twenty-four hours later Kellyanne Conway declared Spicer's obvious lie to be an "alternative fact."  We knew what we were in for.  Incredibly, after nearly four years of this (not counting the preceding four decades or so), there were still enough Pennsylvanians undecided about Trump to fill a studio for what ABC billed as a "Town Hall" last night.  And not all of them were amnesiacs or idiots.

After George Stephanopoulos asked some questions and mostly gave Trump a pass on his incoherent and dishonest answers, Nemesis arose in the person of Ellesia Blaque, a professor of English at Kutztown  University.  She had a question about the Affordable Care Act and pre-existing conditions because she was born with sarcoidosis and is considered uninsurable.  To his credit, Trump did not rage or mock her like some Yamiche Alcindor or April Ryan, but he did interrupt, prompting Dr. Blaque to say, "Please stop and let me finish my question, sir."  No one has ever said that.  When she was done he recited the usual crap about "doing a healthcare plan very strongly," the same one he's been promising since 2017, and protecting pre-existing conditions, even as his lawyers argue in the Supreme Court for destroying the ACA.  Undecided no more, Dr. Blaque says she's sidin' with Biden.
I anticipate no more "town halls" where just anybody without a MAGA hat can walk in off the street, or as Laura Ingraham calls it, an "ambush."  No doubt Trump yelled all the way home about the "fucking idiot" who set that up (Jared?).

I hope I can find this on YouTube because it sounds like the funniest ABC show since the first season of Modern Family.  Trump blamed Biden for failing to order a "national mandate on masks" in his official capacity as former vice-president, and told a puzzling anecdote about seeing a waiter touch his mask (has he eaten in a restaurant this year?).  Again he promised the magic vaccine which is hardly even needed because we will all develop something he calls "herd mentality."  (Was it Keats who wrote "Herd mentality is sweet, but unherd mentality is so great you can't believe it"?)   Then he recited the Churchill story that went over so well at the virus rally and proved he loves the suckers troops:   "You know, I go to Dover and I greet, oftentimes, soldiers coming in, and they're dead."  Oftentimes?  If it happened even once I think the Lying Media would have covered it.  He claimed responsibility for the Veterans Choice Act, which he signed in 2014 using the clever pseudonym "Barack Obama."  He attacked John Bolton, currently being investigated by the Barr Department (let's retire the word "justice" for now).  He attacked James Mattis ("a highly overrated general...he didn't do good on ISIS").  He attacked John McCain just for the hell of it.  Stephanopoulos never observed that the "best people" Trump continually hires either quit or get indicted, so I will.

Yeah, I have a question.  Millions of low-information Americans, you know, your people, have created small epidemics of measles and other childhood diseases, easily preventable diseases, because they believe bullshit about the vaccines.  Vaccines which have been in use for decades.  Why should they rush to get a covid-19 shot when corners are obviously being cut with the consent of the  highly politicized -- shut up, Donzo, I'm talking -- highly politicized FDA and CDC?  Now you can babble.

Yeah, me again.  We all know you're a yuge fan of the Second Amendment, but do you know about the Fifth?  Basically it says you have a right not to incriminate yourself by talking to a writer with a tape recorder.  Did you think your charm would work on the guy who helped bring down Nixon, or are you just incredibly stupid?  And why would you bother to lie about reading Woodward's book when everyone knows you have never read anything longer than a menu?  With pictures.

Over here.  Boris Johnson may be your biggest fan who isn't actually a dictator, and he's in so far over his head they have to lower his lunch to him in a basket.  Seriously, he's even being compared unfavorably to Ed Milliband.  Not surprisingly, he also thinks he's the reincarnation of Churchill.  Why don't the two of you just knock it off?  Racism and obesity aside, there's just no resemblance there.  Millions of Americans are dangerously ignorant about the twentieth century, but millions of us are not, so zip it.

Just one more thing, Trumbert Trumbert.  If you're going to accuse Biden of pedophilia, know that we have pictures like this:

And so does Putin.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Zeitgeist blues

 "It is too early to understand what is going on, but it might indicate stress in a population that is endangered."

That's from an article in the Guardian about orcas attacking sailboats off the Iberian coast, but it could apply to any species, especially ours. 

As smoke from the Pacific coast wildfires drifted across swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, Trump decided to go see where it's coming from.  What he discovered is that "science doesn't know"  why tinder-dry forests should burn after prolonged drought, but it's certainly not his fault.  Probably antifa terrorists with Molotov cocktails clearing out the suburbs so Black Lives Matter can move in.  For reasons that are less clear, leftists are also destroying Antarctic glaciers, which could be very bad for Mar a Lago and other coastal Trump properties.  And Biden is killing songbirds in New Mexico because he thinks it will hurt god.  Trump alone can save the environment.  He's already rushing FEMA aid to Alabama in advance of Hurricane Sally.  Jay Inslee can go on begging.

The Make America So Great Again You Won't Believe It Again Committee is no longer running this dramatic ad to remind us how much Trump loves The Troops.  That's because some plane-spotter saw it and exclaimed, "Jesus Christ, those are Russian MiG-29s!"  And so they are.  I wish I could show you, but the new Blogger interface is pure puke.

Dawn Wooten is a nurse who worked for three years at the ICE detention center in Irwin County, Georgia, where she was alarmed by the hazardous and unsanitary conditions (it's run by a private corporation) and even more by the number of hysterectomies being performed on inmates.   It really is the ICEstapo.  I'm sure the people whose hobby is blocking Planned Parenthood clinics and screaming "Murderer!" at abortion rights activists will want to...hello?  Anyone know the way to Irwin County?  Sure is quiet in here.

We need a little Schadenfreude right this very minute.  South Dakota is making the news for all the wrong reasons -- the Trumpandemic viral event at Mount Rushmore, the plague-spreading jamboree in Sturgis, and now vehicular homicide.  Attorney general Jason Ravnsborg (R-Ofcourse) was driving home from an event where spiritous liquors were served when his Ford Taurus made contact with something.  He called the sheriff to report hitting a deer, apparently a protected species in South Dakota.  Oops!  Turned out to be Joseph Boever, whose body was found the next day.  The AG has several arrests for bad driving, so this could be his license.  Kristi Noem is no longer the worst official in the state. 

In conclusion, bugger Blogger.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Friday clearance sale

I don't know why people are angry about the Justice Department acting as Trump's personal lawyers in the E. Jean Carroll lawsuit.  The Defense Department performed his wife's boob job.

Phillies pitcher Zack Wheeler injured his finger while putting on his pants and may be out for the season.  It's always goofy in Philadelphia.

The NFL had a moment of silence before its opening game to protest police brutality and white fans booed.  For them I propose the WFL (White Football League).   Nothing but white players.  Not even any Samoan place kickers.  Enjoy.

Mosquitos driven out of the swamps by Hurricane Laura have killed hundreds of cattle and horses in Louisiana.  

The POW/MIA flag that used to fly over the White House has been removed, presumably to make room for a royal standard, and relocated to a place on the South Lawn/covid picnic area.  I like flags that don't get downgraded.

America's Mare marked the nineteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by attacking Black Lives Matter and NFL players who kneel for the national anthem.  I guess he's over it.

Chip Carter smoked dope with Willie Nelson on the White House roof and his father the president  knew.  Must impeach!

The many trials for covid vaccines and drugs have created a monkey shortage in the US.  I wish that was a joke, because I have four amazing punchlines.  Wait, five.

Maryland never joined the Confederacy, but "Maryland, My Maryland" is about to join the dumpster of history.   Its lyrics are much more incendiary than those of "Dixie," and it won't be played before the Preakness at Pimlico next month.  Its melody will live on, however, since Trump personally saved Christmas and we can still sing "O Tannenbaum."  Perhaps the state will replace it with 50 Cent's "A Baltimore Love Thing."  Perhaps not.

The New York Daily News reports that Trump's Treasury Department is withholding millions of dollars intended for first responders affected by the original 9/11.   Not police, of course, just FDNY; blue lives matter.  Treasury's response was bureaucratic gibberish about tax ID numbers.  The more likely explanation is WALL.

There is a big fire in Beirut.  In Lesbos a refugee camp burned down.  On the Pacific Coast massive fires have killed at least ten people.  I think the best response came from Lisa at All Hat No Cattle:

Sleep well. 


Stockholm syndrome

I admit I was never sure why Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize so early in his administration, but at least he didn't spend four years encouraging violence, spewing racism and misogyny and trying to dismantle the engines of government and democracy.  Trump has done all that and worse, and he covets the prize more than a date with a fifteen-year-old baton twirler.  This week a far-right parliamentarian, a sort of Norwegian Steve King, apparently nominated him for bringing about peace between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.  Which is a perfectly good thing, though far from the solution to the problems of the Middle East, especially as he encourages the Netanyahu government to built illegal settlements in Palestine.  Besides, didn't Kushner allegedly broker this deal?  Anyway, it ain't happening.  Not after they read Bob Woodward's account of Defense Secretary Mattis sleeping with his clothes on because he thought a nuclear war with North Korea was imminent.

The campaign couldn't wait to share the news about the "Noble Peace Prize," so there was much hilarity.  Trump, however, was already in orbit, blithely comparing his incompetence and inactivity in the face of a pandemic to -- wait for it -- Churchill's leadership in World War II.  It was the usual blend of lies, racism, more lies, incoherence, hair jokes, a ringing endorsement of John James for governor of Michigan (he's running for the Senate), a ringing endorsement of TiVo (he just found out about it), and the big finish:

"This wackjob that wrote the book [to whom he gave eighteen interviews and his personal phone number], he said, 'Well, Trump knew a little bit.'  They wanted me to come out and scream, 'People are dying, we're dying.'  No, no, we did it just the right way.  We have to be calm...We have to lead.  When Hitler was bombing, I don't know if you know this, when Hitler was bombing London, Churchill, great leader, would oftentimes go to a roof in London and speak, and he always spoke with calmness....No, we did it the right way and we've done a job like nobody."

It's like listening to your grandfather talk about the Alamo.   He's never read a book, never been to Texas, but he once saw the John Wayne movie and he's conflated it with True Grit or Stagecoach and he holds forth at dinner unaware that people are rolling their eyes and stifling laughter.  In this case Trump is confusing Churchill with Edward R. Murrow broadcasting from the Air Ministry roof.  Churchill had his own bunker for use during air raids, just as Trump has one for peaceful demonstrations while he waits for the Apache helicopters.  He never minimized the sufferings of Londoners, and sometimes visited bombed-out neighborhoods just as Trump never goes near anybody with "the sniffles," much less full-blown covid.  Offering people "blood, toil, tears and sweat" and promising to "fight on the beaches" is a long way from pretending the war would just go away like a miracle.  People were indeed dying.  Churchill didn't "scream" but he didn't lie.  To be fair he did mispronounce "Naaawzees," which is practically the same as calling the pandemic "kung flu," I guess.   But one thing he didn't call the Nazis was "very fine people."

This country is not on the verge of a second civil war because of Trump's calmness and leadership.  Rather, it's his baseless ranting about "caravans" of immigrants bringing murderers and rapists to the southern border, his encouragement of armed rightzi thugs, his insistence that any election he loses is "rigged," his hatred of a free press, his subservience to Putin and reliance on Russian election fuckery, his overt racism, his destruction of even the postal system, and his total indifference to over 190,000 deaths.  To name a few.

If we order a chocolate "Noble" medal, wrap it in gold foil and get Jabba the Rush to hang it on his neck, will he go away?

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Works for me

Let's use that shitty wall around the White House to fence off a Draft-Dodgers Section.  Now all we need is an archeologist who can determine where the Lee family had their outhouse.

Ashes to ashes, feces to feces.

Losing my mind

It's bad.  But I'm fine.  I think I'm getting used to it.  Is that good?

France may have the most complicated relationship to the female body of any Western country.  It was the birthplace of the bikini, invented by an automotive engineer named Louis Reard back in 1946.  More recently it saw the introduction of the burkini, a swimsuit favored by observant Muslim women and those who fear skin cancer, and banned by various municipalities for being too modest.  Now this woman, known only as Jeanne, was denied entry to the Musee d'Orsay because some minor functionary decided she was displaying too much cleavage.  It hardly needs to be added (although the article does) that the d'Orsay, like every other museum, is full of paintings of naked women; or that Jeanne is more covered than Delacroix's "Liberty Leading the People" over at the Louvre.  I will leave the French to sort this out.  They won't.

Bob Woodward is catching a lot of flak along with the invaluable publicity for his book Rage.  (Why Rage?  Apparently because the last one was called Fear.  I would have gone with Loathing myself.)  Charlie Pierce, for one, dumped all over him for having Trump on tape last January admitting that he knew, as much as he "knows" anything, that coronavirus was going to kill a lot of Americans.  Like Trump, Woodward concealed this information until he could finish the book -- Trump continued incriminating himself on the record until July -- as the death toll steadily mounted along with all the other documented disasters.  The strategy seemed to be blaming the states for not doing more and the Chinese for causing the pandemic in the first place, and you can't say it hasn't worked among the Trumpanzees (remember the armed mob in Lansing?).  I wonder if anything would have been accomplished had Woodward shared his recordings eight months ago.  It's hard to imagine Trump's callous indifference to human life causing even one Republican senator to vote for removal, now that they salivate at the possibility of putting one of their own on the Supreme Court.  (Don't look, it will only upset you.)  As for the other bombshell revelations, like Stupid bragging to a reporter with a tape recorder about his swell new nuclear weapons, I'm sure Putin and Kim got the news before Woodward did.  Even Trump is on the Twitter defending Woodward for sitting on his "good and proper answers" until he could profit from them -- pretty smart for an "enemy of the people."  I predict that as the outcry increases he'll claim it's not really his voice.  He did that with the infamous Access Hollywood tape.

The chorus of apologists has already struck up.  As usual Mike Pence is the most servile, citing the First Amendment right to peaceably assemble during a pandemic to listen to a Trump rant without mask or separation, i.e., FREEDOM.  Tin-tray Tucker Carlson blames Lindsey Graham, of all lapdogs, for encouraging Trump to talk to Woodward, while Jim Acosta cites "a source" who says it was political mastermind Jared Kushner who pushed for the interviews.  I may have to read the damn thing just to find out what Kushner said about the Cheshire Cat, because we are through the looking glass and it might help me find my way back. 

Trump doesn't think Barack Obama is smart or a good speaker.  Kim Jong-un, now, he's "far beyond smart," and he thinks Obama is "an asshole," and he smiles only for Trump.  Isn't that special?  Excuse me a minute, I'm tasting vomit.

I know it's hard to act "fair and balanced" when you have to report on a depraved, demented, treasonous fuckbag and then pretend there's something equivalent about the other side.  Trump brags that he shielded Mohammed bin Salman for ordering the Khashoggi murder ("I saved his ass"), slavers at Kim's description of killing his uncle, complains, "My [sic] fucking generals are a bunch of pussies.  They care more about their alliances than they care about trade deals."   Yes, but what about the Democrats?  The salon where Nancy Pelosi had her hair done is going out of business!  Why do they hate America?

I guess I'm unfair, and I know I'm increasingly unbalanced.  How else can I explain the dream where Queequeg harpoons Trump through his neck-lard and hauls him to a septic tank in the Virginia countryside where his spawn and spawn-in-law are already at rest?  Or maybe it's a heavily tattooed Adam Schiff and he grins and disappears, leaving only the grin, and then Babe the blue ox covers them all in ox shit.  I have to get out more.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Boris Blitt is my hero

Public service announcement


Trump does not like this picture.  He used his Twitter account to complain about it specifically.  He would Hereby Order it cancelled if he could.  Please do not share this picture with your friends, as it is very hurtful to the feelings of Moscow Mitch Leader McConnell.  Thank you.

Monday, September 07, 2020

No rest for the wicked

"The news goes on for twenty-four hours a day."  (Charles Foster Kane)

And what news!  Trump apparently did not get a "bump" from the Republican fireworks show/Nuremberg rally, but he has picked up two big endorsements:  MLB umpire Joe West and Osama bin Laden's niece Noor bin Ladin.  Actually, hers was more of a threat.  Trump's re-election, she says, is vital to the very continuation of western civilization.  So add that to all the other dangers posed by Joe Biden, puppet of China, destroyer of suburbs and running dog of anarchic socialistic anarchy.  If that doesn't bump Trump, what will?

Since its establishment in the 1970s the right has been working to abolish the Department of Education, because of its devotion to states' rights and local control and certainly not because an ignorant public is a Republican's wet dream.  Now Trump ("I love the poorly educated!") wants to deny funding to schools that teach Nikole Hannah-Jones's 1619 Project.  "We grew up with a certain history and now they're trying to change our history," he complained, comparing it to assaults on beautiful statues of Confederate traitors.  If Gone With the Wind was good enough for your grandparents, it's good enough for you. 

Although he keeps getting removed from state ballots for some transgression or other, Kanye West's presidential campaign got a boost yesterday in Atlanta, when he performed his "Walk On Water" routine.  (I keep thinking of the old joke that ends, "Should we tell him about the sandbar?")  They could have used him on Lake Travis.  (rimshot)

Trump can't pick up his phone without insulting, slandering, mocking or denouncing someone but it's a one-way street.  Somebody showed him a cable where the British ambassador Kim Darroch called his administration "uniquely dysfunctional," and now he wants Darroch gone.  I thought it was a rather fine example of British understatement.  And I wonder if Boris still considers Trump a "kindred spirit" as Darroch -- pardon me, Lord Darroch -- suggests in his new book. 

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has determined that the El Dorado fire, which destroyed 7,000 acres, was started by the pyrotechnics at one of these idiotic gender-reveal parties.  I hope the parents are still doing time when the kid, of whatever sex, is graduating from medical school.

In Saudi Arabia you can be beheaded for almost anything but apparently not for murdering and dismembering a journalist.  Good to know.

Francis Brennan is director of strategic response for the Trump campaign, and he decided that Joe Biden's visit to a cemetery needed a strategic response because Biden ignored questions from the media.  Biden visited the graves of his first wife, daughter and son Beau.  "Joe Biden just keeps meandering along," Brennan tweeted.  How dare he.   Probably went to mass yesterday instead of playing golf, too.

In the Philippines you can be shot without a trial if you're suspected of selling drugs, but you get a presidential pardon for murder if the victim was transgender.  Good to know.

A twelve-year-old girl shopping for art supplies was brutalized by police and she isn't even Black.  That's because it happened in Hong Kong.  Good to know?

You don't see many drive-in movie theaters these days, and at $40 a ticket you won't see many more.  That's the price of a classic film at Sandringham, the queen's estate in Norfolk, and it doesn't include snacks.  No, they're not showing The Queen.  Since she only spends a few weeks a year at Balmoral, why not make it into a B&B?

Sunday, September 06, 2020

That's gotta sting

Trump is still fending off outrage about his attacks on American veterans living and dead.  Even the mild-mannered Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger had enough and issued a series of tweets that culminated in "Vote him out."  If Cadet Bonespurs calls Sully a loser, there are at least 154 people who will say otherwise.  ("I like pilots who don't land on the Hudson River, OK?")

It's a holiday weekend but there's no rest for "your favorite president, me!"  He also had to demand Fox News, who were once his bestest friends but no more, fire Jennifer Griffin because she confirmed most of the information in Jeffrey Goldberg's Atlantic article.  Obviously a nasty woman just like Laurene Powell Jobs, whose Emerson Collective owns the Atlantic, a "failing Radical Left Magazine."  (The Atlantic has published continuously since 1857, long before the first draft-shy Drumpf arrived in this country, and was founded by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., and other luminaries of the triple-name era.)

Joe Biden took off his mask and let his anger show as he denounced Trump's veteran-bashing, with special reference to his son Beau.  This is the righteous Biden we need to see more of, in an increasingly dirty and desperate campaign.  The debates, if that's the right word, will be more like WWE wrestling than Kennedy-Nixon.  Since Trump refuses to prepare (although he likes to watch), the strategy is to win not on facts or policy but by finding ways to make Biden stutter and then claim his life-long problem is actually proof of senility, or something.  Remember all the things Hillary Clinton was dying from in 2016?  Like that.  But Biden has been here before.  In 2012 he held Paul Ryan up for nine rounds before the knockout; in 2008 he played the bemused uncle indulging Sarah Palin despite her obvious derpitude.   In short, he's good; I didn't even know about the stutter until I read about it.  What are they going to do, make him watch The King's Speech on a loop until he cracks?  The Trump bunch are already whining about the moderators (Chris Wallace of Fox News, Steve Scully of C-SPAN and Kristen Welker of NBC), so that's good.  But Biden needs to remember who called his son a "sucker" and act accordingly.

By then he'll have even more ammunition.  Trump showed his love for The Troops by ordering the immediate closure of their venerable newspaper Stars and Stripes, then pretended it was somebody else's terrible idea and reversed it.  (Mark Espy's days are numbered.)  The $15 million annual subsidy would have built about two feet of WALL, so he'll make up the difference by de-funding the World Health Organization during a global pandemic.

In other fiscal responsibility news, Trump wants federal agencies to stop spending money on racial sensitivity training, which is giving the impression that this country has some kind of racism problem and is therefore "un-American."  That should end the protests that even reached the sacred precincts of Churchill Downs, where a covid-delayed Kentucky Derby occurred yesterday.  Also Jacob Blake is well enough to speak to reporters from the bed he is no longer shackled to, so...everything good now?

Fighting the wildfires in California would be easier if the Interior Department hadn't grounded its Chinese-made drones last year and refused to buy more.  Fear of spying is the stated excuse.  Sorry, California, Russia doesn't sell drones.  Meanwhile, rake those forests.

Today Trump rests, out at one of the properties where he can charge the Secret Service to rent carts while he makes with the golf sticks, as Joe Gillis would say.  He'll need more than rest.  In this season of publishing bombshells, Michael Cohen's book promises to have the biggest payload.  We knew from the Kelly story that Trump's one talent involves saying the wrong thing to somebody's father.  To Cohen he apparently said, "When did she get so hot?" referring to the attorney's fifteen-year-old daughter.  The "golden showers" strip club story won't surprise anyone at this point, even Franklin Graham, but did you know about "Faux-bama"?  This one will make Mary Trump's blood run cold, and she's a mental health professional.  Before this campaign is over, we all may need one. 

Wankers aweigh

The Texas Trumpanzees held a boat parade on Lake Travis.

It did not end well.  Some are calling it Dumbkirk.

Friday, September 04, 2020

All rise

We haven't looked in on the wonderful world of legal procedure lately.

Paul Rusesabagina has become vocally critical of the rule of Paul Kagame since the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, when he sheltered hundreds of Tutsi in the hotel he managed.  I'm sure that had nothing to do with his arrest on charges of murder, kidnapping and terrorism.  I'm equally sure his case is far from unique; it just got more attention because Don Cheadle played him in a movie.

Mehdi Rajabian is an Iranian musician who was arrested for collaborating with women.  That's all.  I read the whole thing and he hasn't killed anyone.  Maybe Cheadle should play him.  Iran's response to coronavirus has been nearly as incompetent as the Trump regime's, and with elections scheduled for next year the ayatollahs are cracking down on everything in sight.

Still no arrests in the killing of Breonna Taylor as she slept, but prosecutors in Louisville offered her ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover a plea deal on drug charges.  All he had to do was say the dead woman was part of his "crime syndicate."  He refused.

Jury selection has apparently begun in the trial of juvenile delinquent Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two people last week in Kenosha.  Rep. Thomas Massie says he should not be called because he has already decided to acquit.  Since Massie lives in Kentucky he should probably save his voir dire until it's time to acquit the cops who murdered Breonna Taylor.

Republican Policy Committee chair Gary Palmer of Alabama and Study Committee Chair Mike Johnson of Louisiana want Big Bill Barr to determine if Nancy Pelosi violated 18 U.S.C. section 2071 when she ripped up a copy of Trump's speech last February.  They have not asked him about Trump's habit of ripping up official documents (and even, according to Omarosa Manigault Newman, eating them).  I have no idea what the Republican Study Committee does, but if they help one another cram for the bar exam, they need to work harder.

Trump continued to press his campaign theme of "law and order" by urging followers to vote twice and by defending Kyle Rittenhouse's trip to Kenosha to self-defend some businesses by shooting people.  Both are felonies.  Maybe Palmer and Johnson would like to call the DoJ again.

Thursday, September 03, 2020

No bottom

I was ready to write a lighthearted piece about that radio masterpiece The Goon Show because yesterday's events reminded me of an episode from 1956, "The MacReekie Rising of '74."  I found it on YouTube and listened to it again and sure enough, there's a reference to weaponized soup (Brown Windsor, actually).  It's a response to a Scottish siege of the Tower of London with the Scots firing porridge -- classic Spike Milligan absurdity.  Good fun, a little racist, wouldn't make it on today's BBC but come on, weaponized soup.

 Then Jeffrey Goldberg wrote this, and the Atlantic published it, and Rachel Maddow read parts of it, incredulously, on her show.  We knew Trump had contempt for John McCain for presuming to debate him, and for Captain Humayun Khan because his parents were at the 2016 Democratic convention, but it was still possible to interpret that as the way he constantly lashes out at anyone who opposes him.  Now we know of his utter contempt for the very concept of military service, a job for "losers" and "suckers."  It wasn't the weather that kept him away from Aisne-Marne American cemetery, it was the same corrosive contempt; he couldn't understand why the Marines buried there died fighting against Germany (possibly thinking it was already under Nazi rule).  He threatened Donald Junior with loss of inheritance if he joined the army; too bad, it might have made a man of him.  He hated George H.W. Bush, who was neither captured nor killed, simply because his plane was shot down.  Sucker.

In a passage that will be studied by psychopathologists, Goldberg describes how Trump stood at the grave of Lieutenant Robert Kelly in Arlington and said, "I don't get it.  What was in it for them?"  The response of Lieutenant Kelly's father, General John Kelly, is not recorded, but he subsequently accepted the job of running Trump's White House so --- I don't know, make of that what you can.  If people who work for Trump are not damaged when they start, they sure leave that way.

I started with a cultural artifact and I return to one:  the end of The Godfather.  Michael has just joined the Marines and Sonny angrily demands to know how he could be so dumb as to fight for strangers.  It's the gangster faith:  the Family is the only organization to which you owe loyalty.  Trump is the one-man Corleone Family.  How did we ever produce anything so vile? 

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Que viva Mexico!


Soup of the morning

"Kim Jong-un hit on you!  He did!  He fucking hit on you!" Trump told Sarah Huckabee Sanders, as she boasts in her forthcoming memoir.  She doesn't think it's at all gross, either.  Every fucking word out of Trump's mouth is pure angel-song to our Sarah, even when he added, "You're going to North Korea and taking one for the team."  We'll never know if she did.  But apparently Kim is a reader of H.L. Mencken, who famously wrote:  "If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner, and wink your eye at some homely girl."

Michael Schmidt's new book promises to be of considerably more interest than the Sanders valentine.  It's already roiling the waters with its assertion that Mike Pence was put on "standby" last year when Trump hurried to Walter Reed for that purely routine physical/visit with soldiers' families/inspection tour/gift shop buying spree.  We now know it was one of a series of small strokes because the patient was on Twitter yesterday denying the hell out of it.  Thing is, nobody including Schmidt used the word "stroke" until Trump did.  There's other stuff like the offer of the FBI directorship to John Kelly if he would sign a "loyalty oath" and the proposal to "settle" with Robert Mueller to end his investigation -- maybe a free country club membership, who knows?

It's the stroke story, and the thought of being like Dear Old Demented Dad, that continue to obsess the Stable Jenius.   Ronny Jackson was dragged away from his campaign for the Texas 13th and made to lie once again about how incredibly healthy Trump is in spite of dragging his right foot and needing both hands to drink water and sweating like a Derby winner through his acceptance speech and slurring words, and of course:

This, about throwing bags, or cans, of soup at "our police."  I think.

This:  "We had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend, and in the plane it was loaded with thugs, wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear and this and that." 

The conflation of "choke" as in fail to make an easy putt and "choke" as in how George Floyd was killed.  Probably the neurologists have a word for that.

This:  "If I didn't INSIST on having the National Guard activate and go into Kenosha, Wisconsin, there would be no Kenosha right now.  Also, there would have been great death and injury."  He also INSISTED on visiting the city, contrary to the governor's wishes, and has yet to utter the name Jacob Blake.

Claiming Joe Biden is "controlled" by "People that you've never heard of, people that are in the dark shadows."  People who contributed $364 million last month, mostly in small sums to throw us off the track.  Or as he told a visibly distressed Laura Ingraham, "The money is coming from some very stupid rich people who have no idea that if their thing ever succeeded, they will be thrown to the wolves like you've never seen before."  Oh, but we have.  "They will stop laughing!"

No stroke!  No stroke!  You're the soup!

But the biggest scandal of the day is that Nancy Pelosi removed her face mask while getting her hair done in a San Francisco salon.  It's unforgivable that the most powerful woman in the country is still  judged on her appearance.

Last week the Biden/Harris campaign instantly repudiated a troll endorsement from white supremacist Richard Spencer.  Even Reagan eventually declined the endorsement of the KKK.  When will Trump stand up to these "very fine people"? 

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

In search of simpler times, or at least insanity I could understand, I watched a six-part documentary on EPIX, Helter Skelter.  Fifty-odd years ago there was a delusional criminal whose followers thought he was a messiah.  He decided he was getting messages to initiate a race war which would culminate with him and his "family" ruling the United States, if not the world.  Some people were hideously murdered and many more were terrified before the madness came to an end.  It was, as George W. Bush might say, some weird shit.

It's now clear that Charles Manson's big mistake was to kill rich white people, including an actual movie star.  Had he targeted Black or Hispanic people, he and his family might still be living in the desert.  The affiliation of many police forces with white supremacists and far-right militias goes back to the post-bellum South, if not farther, and was certainly a fact when William Parker was running the force in Los Angeles.  Why would they stir themselves because someone was "clearing the streets"?  The Atlanta police didn't expend much effort on the "child murders" of young Black males between 1979 and 1981 before deciding Wayne Williams killed them all, based on a single conviction.  (Read James Baldwin's Evidence of Things Not Seen.)  Who's to say they didn't settle on Richard Jewell for the Olympic Park bombing to protect Eric Rudolph?  No, I'm not paranoid -- I'm paying attention.  I'm also thinking of five Black and Latino men railroaded for the assault on the Central Park jogger and later exonerated -- and of the delusional criminal who still wants them executed.

There isn't a lot of moral or legal distinction between letting the lynch mob into your jail and tying the noose yourself.  Nor among police like Derek Chauvin, police-wannabes like Kyle Rittenhouse and cheerleaders like Trump, who only want metaphoric blood on their manicured hands.  Once again, people are doing their best to start the race war Manson dreamed of, with ultimate power as the prize.  Trump's followers are as delusional as the "girls" of the Family, without drugs as even a feeble excuse.  I wonder if they will accept the November verdict.  Q is only part of it. 

What would Charlie have done in the White House?  We may be about to find out.