Sunday, November 29, 2020

Cultural affairs

 Hi, my name is Buttermilk and I watch The Crown.  I don't binge but I tend to gobble, so I'm already through with Season Four.  I can't help it -- the acting is top-drawer, the settings are astonishing, the titillating bits are titillating and I love the horses and cars.  Do I think it's a documentary?  Don't be daft.

Oliver Dowden CBE is Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and he thinks Netflix should add a "health warning" to each episode so viewers will know it's a drama and not a documentary where Olivia Colman has mysteriously replaced the actual queen.  Viewers are already cautioned when an episode depicts eating disorders, nudity or (brace yourself) smoking, but Dowden apparently has a low opinion of the average subscriber's intelligence, probably the result of working for Boris Johnson.  Warning:  contains fiction seems a step too far.

Many people have had problems with this season --  the queen is improperly uniformed for Trooping the Colour, the royal visit to Australia was clearly filmed in Spain, Princess Margaret never visited the care home where her mother's learning-disabled cousins spent their sad lives, and wasn't there a protracted miners' strike during the Thatcher years which goes unnoticed?  For example.  Mostly, though, Peter Morgan follows the historical record, spiced up with necessarily speculative bits about the characters' personal lives.  (I do hope he's finally got that royalty/stag metaphor out of the way and we aren't going to see a deer jump in front of Diana's car, then vanish down the Paris tunnel.)  Guessing which parts are fiction is part of the fun, when you aren't all that interested in uniforms or weather.  

Maybe all history-based drama should come with a caution, from Agamemnon (there is no evidence that Cassandra was clairvoyant or even existed) to Mississippi Burning (the FBI was not instrumental in solving the murders of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner, or, as Roy Blount, Jr., put it, "this movie is so full of shit").   But what about people who learn all their history from costume dramas?  Isn't that why Gone With the Wind now carries a disclaimer?  What happens when historians change their minds based on newer evidence?   If the poor bloke under the car park really is King Richard III then Shakespeare was right about his crooked back (scoliosis), not necessarily about his being born with a full set of teeth.  Has Hilary Mantel changed thousands of minds about Thomas Cromwell, a most unattractive character as recently as A Man For All Seasons?  More to the point, should she?  It's still fiction, with no obligation to follow all the facts.  It's a great read, period.

Oliver Dowden is a busy fellow, responsible for all that digital, media, culture and sport -- mainly sport, since that's what most people care about -- and in his spare time expected to represent Hertsmere in the Commons.  I think he's got enough to do without holding viewers' hands during a soap opera about real-sounding people.  It's probably as well that there is no equivalent position in the American president's cabinet -- it would require an entire government department to fact-check the fiction emitted daily just by Trump, while another bureaucracy vets films like Thirteen Days (the Cuban missile crisis) and All the President's Men and every Western made before 1972.  And a lot of people will believe utter rubbish anyway.  At last count, seventy million of them.


And just as mysteriously as it came -- it's gone.

Actually, a man the Guardian delightfully calls "adventurer Riccardo Marino" thinks he saw the Utah Mystery Monolith being hauled away in a pickup truck, in its place "a message written in the dirt that said 'bye bitch' with a fresh pee stain right next to it," but there's no reason to believe the truck wasn't driven by aliens.  Perhaps Marino himself is a visitor from another part of the galaxy.  So many questions left unanswered.

Try as I might, I can't find anything more recent than August about the chichi White House Tennis Pavilion, which left the readers of unimpressed.  A lot has happened since then, of course, and I wouldn't be surprised if the departing Trumps left a muddy hole in the ground full of dead rodents and torn-up classified briefings along with all their other disasters.  If the Bumpus family from A Christmas Story had an unlimited budget and no hounds...

Who is Pa Bumpus blaming today?  In a phone-in with Maria Bartiromo unhinged even by his standards, Trump accused the FBI and his own Justice Department of conspiring with the governor of Georgia, the federal judiciary and the usual suspects to deny him glorious victory.  He promised to use "125 percent of my energy" to overturn the election and also the way arithmetic works.  Someone has explained that the Supreme Court chooses which cases to hear, that he can't just send Giuliani over there with a pile of "affidavits," so he's mad about that, too.  The Washington Post has a long, fascinating description of the election night nervous breakdown that no enemy of the people will want to miss; I especially liked the (as usual) unnamed close adviser who saw Trump "like mad King George muttering, 'I won.  I won.  I won."

It's probably just as well Bartiromo didn't interrupt with questions about objective reality.  Had she mentioned the pandemic, he would have blamed China for plotting against him, claimed credit for developing all the vaccines and found a new reason to attack Anthony Fauci.  Had she asked about the millions of Americans who had to celebrate Thanksgiving with donated food, he would have praised himself for fixing the economy by boosting the Dow over 30,000 ("a sacred number").  Mostly she nodded and let him rave, and was rewarded by being called "brave."  Good girl, Maria.  There's a job waiting for you at The Blaze when Fox goes under.

Add another name to the conspiracy:  North Carolina businessman Fredric Eshelman donated $2.5 million to "True the Vote," a Texas outfit that promised to sue at least seven states for being won by Biden.  But they have ceased operations and Eshelman would like his money back.  Nobody is returning his calls, so he's suing them.  Truly this is a golden age of lawyers as well as dupes.  

"What happened to Rudy Giuliani?  Nothing, he's been like this for twenty-five years."  Keith Olbermann is always worth listening to, but I especially recommend this beauty.   And now I can't wait for another week of Donnie Disappointment.  God help me, I love it so.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Count every vote!

 The recount in Milwaukee County is over, and Joe Biden had a net gain of 132 votes.  It didn't cost his campaign $3 million, either.  Tomorrow Dane County will report and that should end it.  Trump has now lost Wisconsin twice, Michigan twice, Pennsylvania three times, and is demanding a third loss in Georgia.  For someone who can't stand to lose, that's a lot of losing.  Maybe he will insist on a recount in Texas just to cheer himself up.  

Nothing seems to be going right.  Trump's mad at his own golf course, swearing at a bad shot instead of his usual practice of simply falsifying the scorecard.  (He should be better after 300 games in less than four years.)  He's mad at Twitter, his indispensable megaphone, because its "trending" numbers no longer favor his lies and are therefore totally fake.   "For purposes of National Security, Section 230 must be immediately terminated!!!" lest people actually think that #DiaperDon has more readers than #RealDonaldTrump.  What did he expect, sitting at the kiddie table and whining?  Twitter must be counting the days (53) until they can terminate his account; others have been suspended for a lot less.  Like his new favorite bullshit source One America News ("Fox With Dementia"), flagged for promoting fake covid remedies.  

He's mad at Brad Raffensperger, possibly confusing him with the press ("really an enemy of the people").  Expect chants of "lock him up" when Trump goes to Georgia to campaign for Loeffler and Perdue and encourage people to vote in another "rigged" election.  And if they lose, ol' Brad better keep in mind that Georgia has seen more than 600 lynchings.  

He's got plenty of mad left for real reporters.  At the Incredible Shrinking Loser press conference, one of them asked if he'll vacate the White House after the Electoral College has its reunion December 14:  "Certainly I will.  You know that.  And if they do they've made a mistake."  He still craves praise for the Trumpandemic:  "Don't let him take credit for the vaccines because the vaccines were me and I pushed people harder than they've ever been pushed before."  Of course, Joe Biden has never indicated that he wants credit for the covid vaccines because he is not a narcissistic sociopath.  If history credits him with speeding distribution and helping to end this disaster, then history is VERY VERY UNFAIR!!!  

Right now the president Trump seems to be rivalling is Woodrow Wilson, in every negative category.  The 1918-1920 "Spanish flu" pandemic killed about 675,000 Americans (there is no way to know how many were infected); more than 265,000 Americans have died in the Trumpandemic, with records for new cases being broken every day.  Wilson re-introduced racism into the federal government, and Trump has checked that box.  The only thing left is an overseas war, and the assassinations of Qasem Soleimani and now Mohsen Fakhrizadeh could be his Sarajevo moment -- what a mess to dump on Biden's desk and who cares how many die?  It's what they signed up for, OK?

(Speaking of Biden's desk, why did no reporter ask about it?  I heard a rumor that somebody dinged it up pretty bad with a blunt instrument, maybe a five-iron.  They're trying to restore it -- this is not something you order out of the Ethan Allen catalogue.  Or so I heard.  As for hiring Russian hookers to urinate on it, that's just gossip.)

Someone must have convinced Trump that pardoning Michael Flynn would be hugely unpopular and besides, he'd have plenty of time to do it after the election.  And so it went.  Now the question is, which other felons and degenerates would he love to unleash on society out of sheer malice?  Eric Rudolph, the Olympic Park/lesbian bar/women's clinic bomber?  The fundamentalists would welcome that.  Robert Hanssen?  All he did was spy for Russia.  Terry Nichols?  He's a Sovereign Citizen who went just a tad overboard.  Ted Kaczynski?  A true visionary.  Haven't they learned their lessons?  I'm assuming Steve Bannon and the rest awaiting trial can expect a merry Christmas.  

I've been reading Sebastian Haffner's The Meaning of Hitler, written before reunification, and his thesis is that Germany was the biggest loser in the Second World War.  Moreover,  he thinks this was deliberate on Hitler's part -- the German people let him down and deserved annihilation, or at least terrible punishment.  (Haffner thinks he tried to keep out the western allies and let in the Red Army so their suffering would be even worse, that this underlay the doomed offensive in the Ardennes in December 1944.)  I don't believe that keeping a volume of Hitler's speeches next to his bed influenced a non-reader like Trump, but their personalities are frighteningly similar.  Trump may have concluded quite independently that Americans must be punished for voting wrong (he can't really think eighty million of us voted "fraudulently").  Refusing to do anything about covid may turn out to be the least of what he plans for us.    

Friday, November 27, 2020

One side makes you grow larger


Starting tomorrow his lectern gets higher.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

No thanks

 War, it has been said, is God's way of teaching Americans geography.  With our blinkered disregard of most of the planet most of the time, it's good to spend another session on The World Elsewhere.  And boy howdy, it's a compost.

The French take mask-wearing seriously, and their police are reveling in the new powers granted them by legislators.  Also they are some sick racists.  All this came together when a music producer known only as Michel was spotted unmasked in Paris.  Three flics sprang from their car and chastised him with truncheons and racial epithets, the third such incident in a week.  When Michel ducked inside his studio, they smashed the window and continued explaining the importance of wearing a mask until someone shouted, "Camera!"  Then they hauled Michel off to the station where he was charged with insulting police, probably because the tear gas was inflaming his vocabulary.  The charges were dropped.  Last January police held a delivery driver on the ground as he cried, "I'm suffocating," and eventually died.  It's not clear why the name of Cedric Chouviat is not as well known as George Floyd -- maybe America is just better at getting the story out.

Extreme weather and tree pests brought on by climate change are threatening London's Highgate Cemetery.  Apparently its most popular resident is Karl Marx, but others include Ralph Richardson, Christina Rossetti, Douglas Adams, Eric Hobsbawm, Bob Hoskins, George Eliot and her partner, Beryl Bainbridge, Stella Gibbons, Peter and Anthony Shaffer and Jacob Bronowski.  Global warming is even bad for the dead.

In other mortality news, Denmark slaughtered millions of minks to prevent them spreading a mutated form of the coronavirus.  The wee cadavers were buried but not deep enough; as they decompose, gases are causing them to be pushed out of the ground.  And of course, the mutated virus is now in the soil and making its way to a nearby lake.

France again.  Anyone who has tried to communicate with a Parisian in well-meant high school French and encountered stony incomprehension will appreciate a proposal to ban discrimination on the basis of accents.  It's not just tourists and immigrants who have faced this but people from anyplace but Paris, apparently.  I can't say I'm surprised, given the way the Academie francaise polices the language to keep out foreign words and coinages.  Now the Kiwis and Ozzies will want to outlaw British jokes about their pronunciation.  Good luck, mate.

Attention hunters in the Czech Republic:  Police need you to watch for a deer which stole a gun in the woods near the Austrian border.  The rifle is unloaded and is wedged in the deer's antlers, and the hunter would like it back so he can try again.  Snork.

In response to increasing crimes against women and children in Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan is pushing for a law that would provide for the chemical castration of rapists.   Unless it somehow prevents men from achieving erection or using a foreign object, I don't see this solving the problem.  

Faced with the same problems, women are occupying the Human Rights Commission building in Mexico City.  They've been there for two months, we were just too preoccupied to notice.  So Islam is not the only source of violent misogyny?  Shocking.

President Xi Jinping of China called Joe Biden to offer his congratulations.  That leaves Jair Bolsonaro, Manuel Lopez Obrador and Vladimir Putin as the last sorehead holdouts.  Come on, guys, even Erdogan is on board with this.  Do you want to look as silly as Trump?

Tokyo is alarmed over sixty serious cases of covid.  If we ever get down to 6,000 serious cases it will be time for the fireworks.  The Supreme Court and its zaniest new member are not helping.

Canada is making plans to distribute the covid vaccine.  No, Trudeau will not be tossing it to people like paper towel after a hurricane.

All the news in Argentina is about the death of Diego Maradona.  All of it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Finished business

 I don't want to go on about the protracted transition, but ending it would prevent lame-duck atrocities like these:

Trump wants to push through a regulation calling for federal executions to take place by firing squad.  Five executions are scheduled for the closing days of his term, and it's not clear that shooting would be any worse than lethal injection, but it tells us a lot about his rage and poisonous masculinity.  This is as close as he'll ever get to that Second Amendment Solution for all his opponents.

He also wants to let shelters deny admission to transgender homeless people, just to reverse an Obama policy.  Nothing personal.

Rudolph Giuliani is appearing at a shindig in the Wyndham Hotel, Gettysburg, to complain some more about the massive "fraud" in Pennsylvania.  Trump was supposed to attend but apparently didn't have the stomach for any more Giuliani lawyering.  (I understand Rudolph was planning to put underpants on his head and stick pencils up his nose this time.)  After Judge Brann tore him a new one you could drive a bus through, I'm surprised he came back to Pennsylvania at all.  

Speaking of buses, Brad Raffensperger was surprised to find himself under one.  I'm surprised he's surprised.  In USA Today he celebrated Georgia's "wildly successful and smooth election" which should be a source of pride even for those whose candidate lost.   "For those wondering, mine lost.  My family voted for him, donated to him and are now being thrown under the bus by him."  You should ask for your money back, Brad.  Joe Biden won Georgia by 12,670 votes.  You were supposed to prevent that. 

Although Georgia has only sixteen electoral votes (compared with Florida's 29 and Texas's 38), the Trumpers are obsessed with the only patch of blue in the solid south.  (Other states need to get their own Stacy Abrams.  You can't have ours.)  They want to "punish" their party by boycotting the January 5 senate run-off.  The election of Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff will make for a 50-50 Senate, which means Kamala Harris will have to stick close to Washington to cast tie-breaking votes.  I guess that will teach...somebody.  Something.  As Brad now knows, party loyalty don't mean shit to these people.   It will be interesting to see if the post-Trump Republican party goes full QAnon/Boogaloo/Wolverine Watchmen/Randy Quaid or tries to return to its Goldwater/Reagan/Bush pretensions of seriousness.  

Could their future look like this guy?   Florida state representative (and blackface performer) Anthony Sabatini thinks teenage assassin Kyle Rittenhouse should be a Congressman, although he's not old enough to vote for himself.  In the past a simple FREE KYLE would have sufficed (and he is out on bail, believe it or not), but the Trump Party requires you to step up your crazy game.  Don't be surprised if Sabatini and Rittenhouse both get Medals of Freedom from their idol, when he's dealt with the crucial problems of pandemic, economy, climate change water pressure in his shower and toilet.

If David Perdue loses his Senate seat he won't have to worry about a paycheck.  He has done mysteriously well in the stock market since the pandemic began, so well that Justice Department may be curious about some of the details.  It doesn't hurt to chair the subcommittee on naval power while owning stock in a military contractor.  As Dylan says in "Idiot Wind," "I can't help it if I'm lucky."

Former Chester County (Pa.) sheriff and Trump fan Carolyn "Bunny" Welsh, who visited the White House more than Nancy Pelosi, has been charged with theft.  Strangely, her favorite president (him) failed to mention her when he phoned the "hearing" in Gettysburg to rant that the judges are part of the conspiracy against him -- even Matthew Brann, a paid-up member of the Federalist Society and the NRA.  Great Cthulhu, how far does this thing go?  Republican poll watchers were "swept into pens and using binoculars," after which the VIN number of Biden's Corvette was tattooed on their arms.  In short, they were "treated like a dog."  And so it ends as it began ("I moved on her like a bitch").  I'm going to miss this malarkey, for at least half an hour.  

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

In transit

Emily Murphy of the General Services Administration has decided to allow history to unfold by signing off on the transition.  As she preens in mangled English ("strived"? "striven," I think) and reaps praise for, like Brad Raffensperger and Aaron Van Langevelde, doing her job, a regular question arises again:  Why this endless "transition"?

In Britain, where party differences are pronounced, transition works like this:  An election is held, people vote, votes are tallied, the result is announced a few hours later, and in twenty-four hours the former prime minister and his/her suitcases are out on the pavement.  Later that day, the new head of government moves in and life goes on.  They haven't had to splash out for a coronation since 1953; we have one every four years, even if it's the same president.  Of course, like so much of our trouble it goes back to 1789 and our perfect, radiant Constitution, which can never be altered unless we want to.  Elections were specified to happen in November, after the harvest and before the snow, and the president would take office in March because it took that long to gather the electors, finalize the result, send a rider to Mount Vernon on a fast horse and get General Washington to New York in a coach.  Really?  We're still doing this?

It was obvious in 1932 that people in the Great Depression were starving and freezing during the long wait, so Congress moved up the inauguration to January 20 from 1937 on.  Somehow the transition that used to take four months was crammed into two, a clear example of Parkinson's Law ("work expands to fill the time available for its completion").  I appreciate that our population is bigger than Britain's and our state-run voting much more haphazard; I don't believe our bureaucracy is more complex.  This should not take two months.  Two weeks is plenty if you dump the electoral college nonsense and take the process away from political hacks like Murphy.  Maybe three.

Because Trump has already quit.  There's a deadly pandemic killing around a thousand Americans a day and taking resources from those with other medical needs.  The Russian navy is playing chicken with American ships.  Black people are still dying at traffic stops.   Food banks are tapped out.  Here's what Trump does:  rage-tweet about election "fraud," citing experts like Randy Quaid; hire and fire terrible lawyers; refuse to meet with his own pandemic response team; take credit for Emily Murphy's capitulation; take credit for the stock market, bullish on Biden and the prospect of covid vaccines; "pardon" a turkey which won't live long in any case; play lots of golf.  Melania works harder trying to look interested in "fucking Christmas decorations."  Two more months of this.  

Of course, there's always time for Trump's trademark sadism, even when he's too depressed to tweet and leaves the detail work to his ratlings.  Making it harder for the disabled to receive Social Security benefits, for instance (he was disgusted by disability long before Serge Kovaleski).  Unleashing a mining company on the Oak Flat oasis in Arizona because it's sacred to the Apache and other tribes.  Bugging out of the Open Skies treaty and even scrapping the surveillance planes so Biden can't just reverse his parting gift to Putin (and how much Trump debt was reduced in return?).  Planting his own Derp State flunkies in civil service jobs from which it will be harder to extract them.  Threatening to veto the Defense Authorization Act because it requires bases be re-named for people who didn't try to overthrow the United States government by force.  And probably collecting stones and D batteries to block up the White House toilets an hour before he leaves.

A cornered Trump will do anything, and Bill Press describes some of the criminal and civil actions which may be closing in on him.  Trump TV may be pre-empted by Court TV.  

Can it get worse?  Always.  Top Glove in Malaysia is the world's largest manufacturer of latex gloves.  It had to close two dozen factories because so many workers are sick with covid.  Which is not surprising when you consider they live in company dormitories and labor in near-slavery conditions, creating record profits for the company.  As the pandemic worsens, glove shortages threaten.  This may actually be worse than Tyson Foods managers in Waterloo, Iowa, betting on how many workers would get sick.  I'm not sure.  Let me go smash some cinderblocks and I'll get back to you.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Why must the show go on?

 As a devotee of "alternative" comedy with fond memories of Brother Theodore and Andy Kaufman, I was hoping for an encore performance of "Rudolph:  Subsequent Pressconference."  I didn't think anything could surpass "Four Seasons Total Landscaping" until I saw "RNC Meltdown," so anticipation was high.  Imagine my disappointment at reading that the act is already breaking up.  Days after her virtuoso performance of "A Conspiracy So Immense," Sidney Powell is going out on her own.  Maybe it was her alarming statement, "Georgia's probably going to be the first state I'm gonna blow up" -- with her "tons of evidence," she added, but folks in the Peach state are still jumpy at the memory of General Sherman.  And so as Team Trump demands yet another Georgia re-count -- this time no ballot will count unless a poll-watcher says "Simon says" -- it will have to get along without her analytical skills linking Dominion Voting Systems, the Clinton Foundation, Venezuela, Cuba, China, Iran, Serbia and George Soros, the Professor Moriarty of every anti-Semite's fever dreams.  (Could she not have added Habitat for Humanity in honor of Jimmy Carter?  He's still alive, you know, unlike Hugo Chavez.)  Apparently Powell crossed some kind of line when she implied that Governor Brian Kemp was in on the plot to steal Georgia for Biden, for which I would love to have heard her "evidence."  I guess I'll have to subscribe to her newsletter, #KrakenOnSteroids.  Really.

A great performance artist but not much of a lawyer, Giuliani got thoroughly reamed by US District Court Judge Matthew Brann, who's a Republican but was appointed by Barack Obama and so is probably part of the conspiracy.  He described their suit as "a Frankenstein's monster...haphazardly stitched together from two distinct theories in an attempt to avoid controlling precedent," which is lawyer talk for "Get the farkle out of my court."  Which means the plaintiff can appeal, totally what Rudolph wanted, eleven-dimension chess.  Mark space on your calendar, SCOTUS, the circus is coming to DC with Victoria Toensing and Joe DiGenova, the Burns and Allen of litigation; and the delightful Jenna Ellis.  Sidney will return to arranging the long-anticipated pardon of her other famous client, Michael "Mickey" Flynn. 

The Trump courtiers are fond of movie references that are just a  Before he was arrested drunk and shirtless in front of his house, Florida Man/campaign manager Brad Parscale was tweeting about the Death Star "firing on all cylinders," an arresting suggestion of internal combustion.  Sidney Powell, as noted above, keeps promising to "release the kraken," apparently a reference to the completely-uncalled-for remake of Clash of the Titans.  (I never watch self-parodic movies unless they have Laurence Olivier and Maggie Smith.)  Wait till they see the monolith discovered in a remote part of Utah.  

If you haven't heard about the arrest of George Soros for "election interference,"  it might be because of the "publication ban" preventing US media from reporting it.  Or it might be because they're both bullshit.  Excellent effort, though, I almost want to see that photoshopped indictment.  In other bullshit news, Bob Dylan has not died in Mexico as reported on the Australian Today show.

It can't happen here?  Nicolas Sarkozy went on trial today in Paris on all sorts of charges, the most colorful of which is taking kickbacks from Muammar Gaddafi on an arms deal.  He's actually the second French president to be indicted -- there was a fake-jobs scandal involving Jacques Chirac but he was too ill to come to court.  This should hearten those who want Letitia James, Cyrus Vance, Jr., and others to move on Trump as soon as his ass leaves federal property.  Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled last month that he'll have to defend himself in E. Jean Carroll's defamation suit.  Let's proceed from there.  

Good read:  Germania Rodriguez Poleo was intrigued by all the shouting about Venezuela, so she dug into Giuliani's relations with various skeevy clients there.

And now, your moment of Strauss:

Friday, November 20, 2020

Bring on the tumbrels!

"Somebody's got to cut the head off" the Democratic Party, Rudolph Giuliani told Sean Hannity, with a throat-slashing gesture in case his speech was a tad too slurred.  "I'm not trying to cut you off," Hannity responded before cutting him off -- figuratively, of course.  He probably hoped to avoid the fate of fellow Foxnick Tucker Carlson, who had invited Trump lawyer Sidney Powell on but terminated the interview because she "never demonstrated that a single actual vote was moved illegitimately...from one candidate to another."  For being so mean to this flower of Southern womanhood Carlson has spent the day dodging Twitter abuse.  Which saddens me.

Steve Bannon got Twitter-banned for proposing that Christopher Wray and Anthony Fauci be decapitated, but Giuliani is so far out of our solar system at this point he doesn't care.  In their frenzy, the Trump defenders have gone full Terror -- Robespierre's, not Stalin's -- and forgotten that Robespierre himself wound up keeping a date with Mme. Guillotine.  And if you think they're using "cut the head off" as a metaphor, you haven't read up on the "Wolverine Watchmen" and their Plan B, with televised executions and the burning of the State House in Lansing.  Because they don't like masks.  

Ordinarily the words "Louie Gohmert says" signal some form of verbiage so bizarre it tends to evaporate as it exits his mouth, but this is Batshit Crazy season.  When he announced that a server exists that can switch votes and it's in Germany and the US Army seized it to cover up The Truth because the military is under the thumb of George Soros, you either grabbed your Trump flag or rolled your eyes.  Compared to Giuliani's ravings about Hugo Chavez and thousands of dead voters in Detroit, Gohmert sounded comparatively rational.  His "information" came from a defeated state representative candidate in Virginia who pulled a map out of her ass where Trump won 410 electoral votes and the Emmy he always coveted.  (Still no Nobel, which is totally rigged.)   The map will probably be entered as Exhibit Q when Team Trump moves on to whichever court they're clogging up next.  

Geraldo Rivera -- I didn't know he was still around either -- wants to be remembered as the fearless reporter who revealed terrible conditions at Willowbrook in 1972, not the chucklehead who found bupkus in Al Capone's purported vault and then wound up on Fox News.  He wants to be Walter Winchell to Trump's Lepke (sorry for all the classic gangland references), coaxing him to give himself up to the FBI or just get the hell out of the White House.  Not old, bitter, red-baiting Winchell.  Anyway, Geraldo thinks he's got just the solution to rub Blistex on Trump's sores:  Name the coronavirus vaccine in his honor.  He's already accepted credit for it, even though Dolly Parton's contribution was more significant.  Isn't this how it's always been done, like when I got my Eisenhower polio vaccine in 1955 and my little brother got his Nixon shot for measles, mumps and rubella in 1971?  No, you fuckwit, it totally isn't, and although I'm pro-vaccine I would need to be tracked down and tranquilized before anyone injected me with something called Trump.  Go look for Dutch Schultz's gold, you obsequious mustached goon.  "But for him, we'd still be wading into the grim winter, with these amazing miraculous medical breakthroughs."  Because no pharmaceutical giant would sense the profit to be realized from a vaccine and develop one at, shall we say, warp speed if Trump hadn't worked so hard blaming China, accusing health workers of stealing PPE, attacking governors, promoting quack cures and insisting that the economy must come first.  Jeez.

Yesterday 2,015 Americans died of covid.  The total passed 250,000 this week.  It is completely out of control.  The hospitals are overwhelmed, the doctors and nurses are exhausted.  The worst criminal behind all this misery already has his memorial:  Trumpandemic.  Seventy million low-information people will evidently do anything he says.  All he had to say was "Wear a mask and avoid crowds for a while."  Trumpandemic it is, now and forever.

Less than an hour ago Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified that Joe Biden had won the state.  I assume he is now in hiding.  The Giuliani Family* Circus moves on to Michigan, where the hope is that Republican legislators will ignore the results and pick their own electors.  The secretary of state certified the result yesterday, so this could go to the mattresses.  

*I almost forgot that Andrew Giuliani is covid-positive.  Since he works in the White House, it was inevitable.



Thursday, November 19, 2020

Thursday housecleaning

 As all real Americans know, Trump saved Christmas.  Nevertheless, millions of Americans will be on their own as of Boxing Day.  On December 26 twelve million will lose their special Trumpandemic jobless benefit unless Congress acts.  Is Congress acting?  Sure, just not on that.   Only yesterday Mitch and the gang confirmed another unqualified lawyer to the federal bench in Florida.  She's only thirty, so she'll have plenty of time to learn about trial procedure and all that other stuff.  I'll bet Matlock is on every day in Florida.

There was a disturbance in the Farce this morning as Glenn Beck and his marching MAGAts arrived in Atlanta to encourage the vote-counters to certify the correct result.  It doesn't look like he was successful.  Trump is still in hiding, tweeting taunts at Governor Kemp, who seems happy to let Brad take the heat and the death threats.  This is how we hold elections now.  By the way, there's a body of opinion that it's finally time to abolish that 18th century relic the electoral college.  Probably a lot of secretaries of state would sign the petition right now.  

Emily Murphy of the GSA still refuses to authorize the transition despite entreaties from the public health community, her predecessor, the president-elect himself and various other sane people.  Today she broke her silence with this tweet:

No idea what it means but I imagine the Q Qommunity is on high alert.

Elsewhere on the social media, someone unearthed this Facebook post by Jenna Ellis:

The internet never forgets.  That line about shooting someone on Fifth Avenue wasn't even original, was it?  He remembered it as praise and four years later hired Ellis as his lawyer.  

Americans are being urged, except by idiots like Scott Atlas, to avoid large gatherings during the holidays, but at the White House, where people are still recovering from the Election Night coronavirus blowout, it's business as usual.  The annual Hanukkah reception is scheduled for December 9, an excellent chance to discuss the appointment of white nationalist Darren Beattie to the Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad.  The Trumps are spending Thanksgiving in the White House, too, possibly fearing that if they leave someone will change the locks.  In Trump America, turkey pardons president!

If you still cling to a belief in "herd immunity," here's a story about how it failed in Sweden and helps the virus mutate more quickly, rendering useless the vaccines everyone has such hopes for.  Read it with a mask on, for cod's sake.

It wouldn't be The Holidays without the Rockefeller Center tree, and wait till you see the specimen they just erected.  Since when is it supposed to symbolize the year?  

And there was a scared owl clinging to it.  I don't know what that portends, and I'm afraid to find out.

It can't happen here

 Alarmed by the popularity of his challenger, the president orders his arrest.  In the violence that ensues, at least 19 people are killed by shooting, tear gassing or being run over, and 350 are arrested.  

Alarmed by his opponent's victory, the president pressures local officials to refuse to certify the result, flies them to Washington, and encourages armed storm troopers to intimidate vote counters.

Did you guess that the first was Uganda and the second Michigan?  Who's the shithole country now?

We would be in trouble if Trump didn't rely on people as intelligence-deprived as he is.  Brad Raffensperger is talked up for Profiles In Courage:  The Sequel for simply, if reluctantly, doing his job, but the real hero of democracy so far has been gormless advocate Rudolph Giuliani.  After the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania sent him on his way with a "bu-bye" and an English lesson (opacity -- use it in a sentence!), he hurried to Michigan to convene another of those press conferences that make Sacha Baron Cohen question his career choice.  Rudolph doesn't have much hair and he doesn't like to waste money on the high-priced dye, so brown streaks ran down his face as he ranted about trash cans filled with bogus ballots, voting machines remotely controlled by Venezuelan communists, another "star witness" ordered to cheat, Republican observers confined in "pens and corrals" as if they were asylum seekers at the southern border, child voters, dead voters, pre-natal voters.  He threw in a reference to My Cousin Vinny, perhaps signaling he would like Joe Pesci to come out of retirement and play him in the movie.  Inherit the Derp?  Anatomy of a Clusterfuck?  BadLosers?

Undeterred by courtroom failure, Giuliani has withdrawn the Michigan lawsuit but promises more in Georgia, Arizona, Virginia and New Mexico.  Why not New York and California, as long as Trumpanzees are paying for it with their sad little contributions?  It's so over that nothing is left but delay.  The Republican members of the Wayne County board of canvassers have changed their minds more than Ross Perot in 1992, so Trump is flying them to the White House for junk food and pressure to Save America from the Demon-crats.  If they can prevent certification long enough, maybe the election never happened and he gets to remain forever in a job he hates and doesn't even pretend to do anymore.  New Mexico?  Maybe it's not really a state.  It has "Mexico" in its name, doesn't it?

Beneath it all, of course, is the tell-tale heart beneath America's floorboards, racism.  Wayne County's voters are 75 per cent Black, not unlike the voters in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Atlanta, while Latinos and Native Americans were largely responsible for Biden's victory in Arizona and Nevada.  In the minds of the Trumps and Giulianis (and the Tucker Carlsons and Sean Hannitys) any vote the unwhite cast is by definition suspect.  The street thugs are the manifestation of this rage at the loss of their assumed entitlement.  I don't see BLM protesting Lindsey Graham's re-election or Mitch McConnell's.  Black Americans have never assumed they were entitled to power -- even asserting that their lives matter is regarded as dangerously radical.  "I am not going to be comfortable until Joe Biden's hand comes off the Bible," Charlie Pierce wrote this week.  Of course he knows that's just the beginning.  I am not going to be comfortable until the Republican Party is broken up under the RICO Act.


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

A very stupid coup

 Rudolph Giuliani's chances of collecting that $20,000 per diem grew faint as the Trump campaign paid $3 million for a partial recount in Wisconsin.  The whole state would have cost $7.9 million so it looks like corners are being cut.  The campaign has yet to specify the counties it is challenging and the state is waiting for the check to clear, so the Futility Canvass 2020 probably won't start until next week.  Biden's biggest leads were in Milwaukee and Dane counties and unless every vote is tossed out there's no way Trump can claw back the state.  Hey, it's not my money.  

Meanwhile lead lawyer Rudolph notched up another failure in Pennsylvania when the state's Supreme Court ruled that Philadelphia did not violate the law by restricting observers' access to ballots.  In Georgia, the discovery of more uncounted ballots has reduced Biden's margin of victory to 13,000.  That leaves Michigan, where any further delay in certifying the results could remove the state from the electoral college altogether; to date, no judge has indicated a willingness to disenfranchise five million people just because most of them voted for Joe Biden.  

Against the odds and in violation of his usual practice, Trump appointed Christopher Krebs to head the DHS's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.  Krebs was not only good at his job, he was cocky about it, declaring this election "the most secure in American history."  That can't be right because Trump lost, therefore FRAUD AT POLLS!  Chad Wolf, himself illegally appointed (long story) refused to fire Krebs in last week's purge, so Trump had to take time out from his packed schedule of sulking and tweeting and do it himself.  On Twitter, because he is a big fat coward who couldn't even fire someone on the phone much less in person.  (See Comey, James.)  

Since then Krebs has received widespread support including a nice tweet from Mark Hamill, to which he responded:  "In defending democracy, do or do not, there is no try.  This is the way."  Use the Force, Joe, and find a job for this guy.

If you haven't read about Hollywood celebs spending big money to pave their kids' way into Virginia Wesleyan University, it could have something to do with their Business and Economics Department and  former dean Paul Ewell.  On Facebook he called Biden supporters "ignorant, anti-American and anti-Christian," at least one of which offends me.  Ewell resigned last week, protesting that some of his best friends are Democrats even if they do corrupt "our youth...our country."  He promises to work harder at being a Christian.   He could start by repudiating Trump, who picked up on his story and re-tweeted it with a single, baffling comment:  "Progress!"  He won't.

In other "what else can we shit on?" news, the Bureau of Land Management has given oil and gas companies thirty days to submit their plans for fouling pristine Alaskan wilderness.  It's almost as if they don't plan to be doing this after January.  

The Trumps' Thanksgiving just got more interesting:  Ivanka has her very own Stephanie Winston Wolkoff!  Finally she and Step-mom can bond over the cranberry sauce (yech).  Lysandra Ohrstrom finally felt free to vent in Vanity Fair about what a spoiled bitch her one-time friend is.  For instance, Ohrstrom recommended Richard Russo's novel Empire Falls only to have Princess reply, "Why would you tell me to read a book about fucking poor people?  What part of you thinks I would be interested in this?"  Aren't poor people mentioned in that Bible she carries around in case Daddy spots a church and decides to hold a photo-op?  I'm pretty sure they are.  And unless the Chapin School makes students sign a non-disclosure agreement, Vanky won't be using Daddy's Justice Department to sue her no-longer BFF.  Best she can do is snip Ohrstrom out of her wedding pictures.

On Two Foul Balls and a Miss today, Brian Kilmeade said, "It's in the country's best interest if [Trump] starts coordinating on the virus and starts coordinating on security with the Biden team."  When you've lost Brian Kilmeade...


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Spite and Shinola

 Revenge, it is said, is a dish best served cold, but if you have to move in two months, who has time?  Trump is certain he did an A+ superbo job handling the covid pandemic, which was totally caused by China, but treacherous pharmaceutical companies sat on their vaccines until after the election which, by the way, HE WON.  They will therefore be punished by being forced to charge Medicare no more than the rock-bottom prices paid by "comparably wealthy" countries with some form of national health service.  Imagine, Big Pharma thought they won the lottery when he put one of their lobbyists in charge of Health and Human Services.  There's no honor among thieves or Republicans, is there?  And lower drug prices, especially for pensioners, doesn't sound like a policy President Biden will be eager to reverse.

But revenge works both ways.  Federal Reserve nominee Judy Shelton is a Trump classic:  She isn't sure there should even be a Federal Reserve, she would abolish the FDIC, and she wants to return to the gold standard.  But her appointment was blocked in the Senate, with all the Democrats joined by Mitt Romney, Susan Collins and -- Mitch McConnell?  Can that be right?  Too mad for Mitch?  Not today, Judy.

I'm sure Lindsey Graham voted for her -- his theme song is "I'll Do Anything" from Oliver! and Trump is Fagin.  For one example the chairman of the Judiciary Committee may come to regret, he tried to get the long-suffering Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to throw out  legally cast absentee ballots in order to flip the state to Trump.  Graham denies it ("It was a perfect call"), but Brad had an aide listening in because he's not a fool.  (I'm going to call him Brad because I'm tired of typing Raffensperger.)  Brad and his wife are getting death threats -- shocking, right? -- from Trumpanzees more hands-on than Graham.  The recount in fact turned up about 2,600 uncounted ballots in Floyd County which broke 1,643-865 for Trump, hardly enough to change the final count but more idiot fuel for conspiracy theories and all-caps tweets.  

As if the Shelton vote wasn't bad enough, McConnell also denounced the plan to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq by the highly significant date of January 15, leaving Biden to deal with what even Republicans believe will be a New Year's gift to the Taliban.   But Trump isn't forgetting about the Middle East and its potential for disaster:  the New York Times says he had to be talked out of bombing nuclear facilities in Iran.  That would be the sites where they resumed enriching uranium after he shredded the 2015 agreement concluded by Obama, because it was concluded by Obama.  Meanwhile Biden is still not in the intelligence loop, although the principal obstacle, Emily Murphy of the GSA, is looking for a job for herself. 

The Times also says that Rudolph Giuliani, the Darrow of the mole people, demanded $20,000 a day to wrangle the Trump legal case against Pennsylvania up to the Supreme Court (or possibly Supreme Hoagies on Market Street).  Giuliani denies it, saying the deal was "we'll work it out at the end," and he's just dumb enough to take Trump's word on payment of a bill.  

I seem to remember the Surgeon General's name was Adams, but Scott Atlas has usurped the job of speaking on medical matters.  He's full of lousy advice -- masks don't work, asymptomatic people shouldn't be tested -- but the most sadistic concerns Thanksgiving:  Go ahead and hold big gatherings because "for many people, this is their final Thanksgiving."  I can just see the Hallmark Channel movie.  Moonlight and Covid, about the couple who find love watching Nana expire in the ICU.  

In the sequel, they have a wedding like this one, in lovely rural Maine.

I am so done with these people.

Monday, November 16, 2020


 We can be grateful to this moment in political time for terminating at least one pernicious myth.  No intelligent person can now refer to the United States as "the exceptional nation."  Not when our elections are followed by riots in the streets and the refusal of losers to acknowledge reality.  We are Belarus.  We are Zimbabwe.  We are no better than many a banana republic.  The peaceful transfer of power has been a given since Adams succeeded Washington, but I guess that's over.  Sometimes democracy dies in sunlight.

It's not just the notoriously infantile Trump, either.  Lauren Underwood (D-IL) was re-elected from the 14th District by over 4,000 votes but her opponent Jim Oberweis reported for freshman orientation anyway, because he thinks he can sit in on classes without paying tuition.  (I assume.  Congress is just like college, isn't it?)  Also John James was defeated in Michigan by incumbent Democrat Gary Peters, but has hinted he may sneak into the Senate chamber and throw all the stuff from Peters's desk on the floor and then sit down and refuse to budge, even when they turn out the lights.  These people do not know how to lose.  Or how to govern, or how to tell the truth.  They lack many skills.  Some of them cannot name the three branches of the federal government.  (Those who can't teach, teach gym.)

They can't even tell the truth about physical evidence all of us can see, like the Several Thousand MAGAts March that invaded Washington on Saturday under the auspices of the Proud Toys.  Several sources have merrily observed that the Trump regime is ending the way it began, with exaggerated reports of crowd size.  But it's worse than that.  Trump promised American carnage and he has delivered over 246,000 deaths to date.   That's more than the First World War, fewer than the Second.  Of course, it's far from over.

A second coronavirus vaccine is in the pipeline from Moderna, which should be available by spring.  The company says it can provide the US with twenty million doses by the end of the year.  Organizing the distribution, of course, is one more job being held up by Trump's prolonged temper tantrum and refusal to authorize the transition.  After four years he still thinks government consists of tweeting abuse, haranguing mobs and signing his name.  

The Georgia recount has yet to turn up anything suspicious so Trump has joined the chorus blaming the RIGGED ILLEGAL BAD RESULT on Brad Raffensperger, for whom even I am starting to feel a drop of pity.  He spent most of the day on Facebook refuting the lies shoveled by Trump and his surrogate ("Failed candidate Doug Collins is a liar -- but what's new?").  Republicans in Disarray!  You hate to see that on the eve of a critical double runoff.   Snerk.  Sorry, it's the pollen.  Even as the ads get more strident and Streicher-like, David Perdue has declined to debate Jon Ossoff even once, having had his ass handed to him already.  Ironically, Kelly Loeffler is portraying Rev. Raphael Warnock as an anti-Semite and maybe even a child molester, but definitely a SOCIALIST!    

After last week's Bye-Felicias, the Trump legal brain trust consists of Chramhead Rudy and the sort of lawyers who advertise on local TV.  "Have a wreck?  We will get cash for your crash!  Call 1-800-SHYSTER."  Unable to pound the law, the evidence or the table, their strategy seems to be filing one specious suit after another until December 14, when Republican-controlled state legislatures will somehow set aside all the electors pledged to Biden and appoint better ones.  Yeah, that should work.  That and Paula White's angels.  City of Destiny, did you say?  That's a little on the nose for Florida, a state sometimes called "God's waiting room."  


Meanwhile, Trump is looking decidedly seedy.  Either Sherwin Williams ran out of Sunburst Yellow or he just can't be bothered with dyeing his hair anymore.  His announced schedule for today was "12:30 lunch with the vice president."  What could they have talked about?  I'd love to be a fly on...never mind.  Eric is busy on the Twitter explaining that the relative size of Biden's and Daddy's rallies means Trump actually won, it's just math and anyway, Biden didn't have a single boat parade.  As for Junior, a rare white moose, protected under Canadian law since 2006, was found shot by the side of a remote road in northern Ontario.  That is all I will say.

Friday, November 13, 2020

They fought the law

 By any measure, Trump is the most lawless person ever to occupy, visit or deliver groceries to the White House.  It was clear long before he moved in that nothing about our legal system made any impression on his narcissism but bankruptcy law, repeatedly invoked to escape his collapsing businesses, and civil lawsuits brought to intimidate and punish his real and perceived enemies.  A judge just threw out his libel suit against CNN and the Justice Department is using public resources to sue a woman who wrote a book that displeased his wife.  There are probably others.  

Trump's last hope was in disqualifying Pennsylvania's 2.65 million absentee ballots, and now the firm that was representing him has withdrawn from the case.  Once the secretary of the commonwealth certifies Biden the winner (she has until November 23), game over.  Arizona, where another Trump lawyer threw in the towel, has already announced for Biden.  Georgians are wetting their thumbs and counting the ballots again, but that's looking Biden, too.  This would make his electoral total 306.

If that sounds familiar, it's because it was the number of Trump's TREMENDOUS LANDSLIDE in 2016, the yugest of all time, which he was still boasting about last January.  He used to pass out maps to anyone who visited the Oval Office, even Russians, because no one ever won so bigly.  (Except Reagan, and Nixon in 1972, who also won the popular vote, but that's ancient history.)  Trump is still holed up in his bedroom tweeting and eating, but at least his victory dance is over.

And now maybe Joe Biden can get his messages?  Some world leaders have called him directly, but most followed protocol and called the State Department, which is not passing the messages on.  We must just hope that touchy countries like China, which sent congratulations today, understand why their calls are not being returned.  Having dealt with Baby Shitpants for four years, they won't be surprised.  Pompeo's leaving today on his last world tour, so he can privately smooth things over.

What does Trump do all day now that he's stopped watching Fox News?  Plot more revenge, apparently.  After Mark Esper was fired, James Anderson, acting undersecretary for policy, resigned.  Some people applauded as Anderson, a popular Marine veteran, left the building, and now Trump wants the names of those who clapped.  If they get fired, too, the Biden transition team should buttonhole them on the way to the parking lot.

In the Washington Post Greg Sargent analyzes the delicious in-fighting among Trump's spawn and spawn-in-law about whether he should protect his "legacy" by simulating adult behavior (Jared and Princess) or spend the next four years bitching about a "stolen" election (Junior and the other idiot).  The Weirds versus the Beards.  "The only motivating factor in how this will be handled is what is good for Trump and the family," Sargent writes, with the interests of the United States not even getting a thought.  So much for making America great again.  And of course McConnell is throwing fuel on the fire to keep power by motivating aggrieved Trumpanzees to vote in the January 5 Senate runoff in Georgia, i.e., what's good for Moscow Mitch.  Quite a spectacle, and the party allowed it to happen by letting the creature in.  Putin has lost the White House but he still has a considerable hold on the nation.   (If TrumpTV fizzles like everything else he's ever done, it's possible RT has a slot for him.)

The purges continue!  Acting DHS Secretary and pretend-human Chad Wolf fired two of his top officials on orders from 30-year-old White House snotnose John McEntee.  But rumor says he refused to fire the cybersecurity chief Christopher Krebs, an election-fraud denier.  Revolt!   Is Wolf next?  Wouldn't it be hilarious if Pompeo got fired while he's in the Middle East?  Stop, I can't take any more.

Half an hour late Trump has put on clothes and waddled out to read, with his customary lack of affect or comprehension, a prepared statement about how wonderfully he has responded to the pandemic (1,172 deaths yesterday, 10,600 new cases).  No lockdown, he promises.  And the amazing Pfizer vaccine will take care of everything.  For this they deployed the Big Flag.  And now we hear from GlaxoSmithKline stockholder and head of Operation Warp Speed Moncef Slaoui, whose company is also working on a vaccine.  So, pandemic practically over!  Start saving up now, because this one will definitely not be free like Salk's.  "Time will tell" is as close as Trump can bring himself to acknowledging defeat.  Three hundred six, Donzo.  Does that ring a bell?

Nothing feels as good as escaping a kidnap-assassination plot, however shambolic, and Governor Gretchen Whitmer is celebrating by enraging the petroleum industry.  Specifically, blue state Michigan is suing to force Enbridge, Inc., to shut down its aging (1953) oil pipeline across the Straits of Mackinac, a decision which was hailed by the Bay Mills Indian Community.   Another pipeline is being constructed in the bedrock beneath the Straits, where it's less likely to pollute the water.  Keep 'em coming, Governor, the people are with you. 

Andy Borowitz writes, "Biden could receive classified intelligence just by hanging out in Mar a Lago dining room."  Yeah, but in the pictures it doesn't look too clean, and they'd probably overcharge him.  Three dollars for a glass of water?

They finally finished toting up Maricopa County and Arizona has gone to Biden -- just as Fox News reported on Election Night.  Martha McSally enters the Guinness book as the only person ever to lose Senate elections two years apart.  (Perhaps she'd like to run for governor next.)  Apparently Arizona voters don't care for people who attack their war-hero senator even after he's dead.  Even John McCain's widow Cindy said she was voting for Biden.  

It will be good to have a senator who's an ex-astronaut and has a scientific education.  It will help to offset this doofus.  Newly elected Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville, whose last job was football coach, thinks his daddy invaded Normandy in 1944 to liberate Europe from "socialism and communism."  He also thinks the three branches of government are "the House, the Senate and executive."  He looks forward to using his Senate office to fundraise for the Georgia runoff, which used to be illegal but who even knows anymore?  They should make sure his desk is far from Ron Johnson's, to prevent a vortex of stupid from sucking everyone through the floor.  And since "coach" is one of those red-flag professions like "youth pastor" and "Scout leader," how long before former Auburn players start coming forward with, ahem, riveting allegations?  (Wikipedia says Doug Jones is "a leading contender" to become Biden's attorney general.)     

Like every other state but a tiny portion of upper New England, New Jersey is getting slammed with covid.  Governor Phil Murphy held a press conference to announce new restrictions on gatherings and businesses and to address complaints about masks:  "You know what's uncomfortable and annoying?  When you die."  





Thursday, November 12, 2020

Thursday news salad

Roman emperors used to deify their predecessors, in the hope that the next guy would do the same for them.  Augustus declared Julius Caesar to be "the divine Julius," Tiberius kicked Augustus upstairs and so on.  In the Catholic Church, successor to the Roman Empire, it has become a common practice to canonize former popes.  Maybe they should be vetted a little more carefully.  It appears that Saint Pope John Paul II knew about the sexual misconduct of Theodore McCarrick  but nevertheless made him archbishop of Washington and then a cardinal.  Apparently McCarrick was an admirable fundraiser and, as another American bishop trenchantly put it, "The Church don't run on Hail Mary's."  Pope Francis demoted McCarrick to civilian last year, but somebody still has some explaining to do.  Can you un-saint a saint?  

Angelina!  Daddy got out again.  He's fine, Martha from the dry cleaner walked him home, but it might be time to think about round-the-clock care.  Jon Voight made a video calling the president-elect "Satan" and promoting conspiracy theories about vote fraud, and someone who loves him or wants to protect his legacy as an actor needs to take action.  

Here's a story that probably will be a movie:  Bounchan Keola came here from Laos at the age of four.  When he was sixteen he was riding in a car with other young men and someone shot at another car, resulting in a death.  Keola pleaded guilty to attempted murder and served twenty-two years in prison.  This year he was seriously injured battling the Zogg fire in northern California.  (Inmates earn a dollar an hour doing this hazardous work, for which they have little or no training.)  Even though he is a legal resident, Keola can now be handed over to the ICEstapo for deportation under a California law that Governor Gavin Newsom shows no sign of opposing.  It's not clear that Laos would even take him back.  Happy endings are few and far between these days.

If you scored an invitation to the Election Infection party at the White House, I hope the champagne was chilled and the food was above average.  Corey Lewandowski, David Bossie, Ben Carson, Brian Jack, and now big-bucks donors Richard and Liz Uihlein are among those who got coronavirus as a party favor.   And Trump lost anyway.  Enjoy your Democrat hoax.

Asked by Brian Kilmeade if Joe Biden will receive intelligence briefings soon, Kayleigh McEnany responded, "That's a question for the White House."  If Kilmeade looked more confused than usual, it's probably because McEnany's job is to speak for the White House.  It's always stressful to prepare for unemployment but she has to do better than that.  Meanwhile Republicans like Chuck Grassley, Mike DeWine and Oklahoma Senator James Lankford are urging Trump to quit sulking and get on with the transition.   They didn't sign up to be babysitters.

Rupert Murdoch is trying to coax the critter out of the White House with breadcrumbs like this from the New York Post:  "Trump among long-shots to replace Alex Trebek as Jeopardy! host."  Yes, right after Dame Maggie Smith gets a call-in show on ESPN.  ("Hello, Ronnie from South Boston, do go ahead.")  Clearly Murdoch is terrified of Trump's proposal to set up his own TV network/streaming platform/skywriting company to crush Fox News, which he now hates for its "garbage" broadcasters.  

White nationalists in disarray!  You probably know that Kyle Chapman stepped down as chairman of the Proud Boys to set up its "tactical defense arm" the Waffen-Proud-Boys Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights.  His successor is Enrique Tarrio, who identifies as Black and was among several PBs stabbed in Washington on November 3.  Chapman is disgusted by Chairman Tarrio's "failure to conduct himself with honor and courage on the battlefield" and has deposed him and resumed control.  No, that's not the funny part.  Here it is:  He is changing the name to "Proud Goys" because "the West was built by the White Race alone and we owe nothing to any other race."  If Trump is counting on these guys to "stand by" for some coup attempt, he may be disappointed.  They're joining in the "Million MAGA March" announced for this weekend (and co-opted from Louis Farrakhan's "Million Man March" of 1995, if you're keeping score), Hawaiian shirts optional.

Now they won't be confused with these Proud Boys.   Thanks, George Takei.

In other ICEstapo news, six women who complained of being involuntarily sterilized at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia, have been deported, and another seven may follow.  Dr. Mahendra Amin, the gynecologist who perpetrated the atrocity, is still here.

The libel suit Trump brought against CNN was dismissed, of course, by the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.  Judge Michael Brown is a Trump appointee but one who does not understand proper gratitude, and Trump is too depressed even to tweet abuse.  Heckuva job, Brownie!  (No, probably not the same one.)

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan "Not the Sports Guy" Patrick offered a million dollars for information about voter fraud.  Yesterday he got this tweet from Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman of Pennsylvania:   "Hey, Governor Patrick, it's your counterpart in Pennsylvania.  I'd like to collect your handsome reward for reporting voter fraud.  I got a dude in Forty Fort PA who tried to have his dead mom vote for Trump.  I'd like mine in Sheetz gift cards pls.  PS the Cowboys blow."  Check out Fetterman on YouTube -- the Democratic Party needs more like him.  

Mike Pompeo wants an independent investigation of voting irregularities in Belarus!  Well, hollow laughter is better than none.


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Armistice Day

Molly McKew writes, "POTUS has nothing else on sched today but is nonetheless late to Arlington National Cemetery to honor veterans on Veterans Day, keeping decorated veterans, their families and others waiting in the rain, not understanding the significance of the day, hour, minute of commemoration."

That's harsh.  She obviously doesn't know how hard it is to get him out in the rain.  Also, he hates cemeteries, which waste potentially profitable real estate, and is bewildered by dead soldiers ("I don't get it -- what was in it for them?").  Meanwhile the President-elect and Dr. Biden visited the Korean War Memorial in Philadelphia, and the Vice President-elect and her husband Doug Emhoff stopped by the Dog Tag Bakery in Washington, a business run by and for disabled veterans.  

The Evertrumpers are challenging 10,000 mail ballots in Pennsylvania which arrived after November 3, though a federal judge has already ruled them valid and at this point even Sam Alito is starting to roll his eyes with boredom.  Even if they are disqualified, Biden would hold a 37,000 vote lead in the state, so what's the point?  Over the weekend a postal worked named Richard Hopkins said the Erie postmaster ordered him to backdate ballots mailed after election day.  This caused Lindsey Graham and Bill Barr to order immediate investigations.  Hopkins recanted to officials of the postal service's inspector general, and then insisted he didn't recant.  Stay tuned, if you care.  Or get more details about the 135 ballots in question here.

Brad Raffensperger is trying to fend off more whining from Georgia Republicans (who are starting to mutter about "traitor to his race") by ordering a hand recount, which is less accurate and more expensive than a machine recount.  Since there's no paper receipt for machine voting, it's not clear how those votes can even be counted, neither has even one claim of fraud been documented, but even if ol' Brad counts the votes "right" this time, Biden won.  Without Georgia or Arizona (still uncalled) or even Alaska, which proudly handed Trump all three of its electorals today.  How long do you have to coddle the world's oldest four-year-old?  What part of "270" do you not get?  One more reason to shit-can the Electoral College along with the three-fifths clause and the appointment of senators by state legislatures.  And the "originalists" can lump it.

It's slightly disturbing that Trump chose this week to re-organize the Department of Defense.  Could Mary Trump be right about a coup?  Did he force himself to go lay a wreath today despite the coif-destroying downpour just to prove his love for The Troops?  And so they'll totally ignore the oath they swore to defend the Constitution and seize the radio station and the post office when the Q signal is given?  I don't know, but here's the new lineup:  Christopher Miller, acting Secretary, former Special Forces Afghanistan and a friend of General Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs;  his chief of staff Kash Patel, who believes the Russia investigation was a hoax; race-baiter Anthony Tata, who Trump nominated and then un-nominated once before, now in charge of policy for the next couple of weeks; and on drums "intelligence and security," Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who used to pal around with confessed felon Michael Flynn at the National Security Council.  Enjoy them now, they'll be working for Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin by March.

You know it's desperate when the lieutenant governor of Texas offers a million dollars to "incentivize, encourage and reward" reports of voter fraud.  (Republicans won Texas.)  Up here, we-all call that a  bribe, Dan.  But it's your money, or rather, your campaign's.  Better than spending it on hookers and Adderall, I suppose.

Will Gina Haspel (CIA) and Christopher Wray (FBI) walk the plank of the Trumptanic next?  Will they be replaced by Lou Dobbs and Jon Voight?  I don't know.  I want to think about the people who gave the last full measure of devotion, not the bone-spur battalion.  Ask me tomorrow.