Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Anguish on the right

 The white nationalists continue to tear one another apart.  It's sad.  Thoughts and prayers.

Kayleigh McEnany becomes the latest Trump loyalist to be cast into outer darkness, for saying on Fox & Friends that Trump is leading DeSantis by 25 points in some silly poll.  WRONG!  The real number is 34 points!  "The RINOs and Globalists can have her.  Fox News should use only REAL Stars!!!"  This is Kayleigh McEnany, one of his press secretaries, thrown to the Globalists and branded a "Milktoast."  And so early in the morning.  And I thought Trump had stopped watching Fox.  And "Milquetoast"?  Even if you spell it right, it makes no sense.

As his REVENGE 2024!!! tour revs up, Trump is also promising to end the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of birthright citizenship ON DAY ONE, right after he pardons all the insurrectionists and orders the arrest of everyone currently investigating him.  Didn't we go through this during his interminable residence in the White House?  It was so long ago I'm pretty sure Jeff Sessions was the AG who had to explain that you can't amend the Constitution with an executive order scrawled on a McDonalds napkin.  He doesn't listen.

He clearly wasn't listening last week during his video court appearance, where Judge Merchan lectured him about clearing his schedule for the criminal trial that begins next March in Manhattan.  Scowling, glaring, and plotting how best to disrupt the proceedings, tapping his fingers as if producing another all-caps screed about WITCH HUNT and HOAX.  If any of the judge's words penetrated, he wouldn't be trying to find out the names of the FBI agents and DOJ employees working on the stolen documents case.  Now why would he want those?  Christmas card list?  Or narrowing down the abuse and death threats currently being received by random agents (like the nail-gun attack on the Cincinnati office)?  I'm just asking questions.  His lawyers are actually trying to use the FOIA, which was not written for the purpose of witness intimidation.

Yesterday the indispensable Lisa at All Hat No Cattle presented this lovely collection of restaurants which will mark Pride Month starting tomorrow.  I was startled to see (third row from the top) the notoriously LGBTQ-phobic Chick-Fil-A.  They have a VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.  The chicken has gone woke! and the wingnuts (no pun intended) can't find anyplace to eat.  (Hobby Lobby does not have a buffet.)  One mourner is sure the Marxists have stolen the chain out from under its founder and his "Christian values" and that "Marxists won't allow belief in Jesus Christ," who was particularly virulent in damning trans people.  I assume the MAGAts will be brown-bagging in future, and all because Chick-Fil-A decided they wanted to sell more chicken.  That's how Marxists get you, with capitalism.

The Republicans are chewing their legs off as they try to escape from the debt-ceiling trap that Kevin McCarthy led them into.  It's funny because only two months ago they were joking about Joe Biden's mental agility, with the Squeaker promising his troops he'd bring "soft food" to the negotiations.  "Republicans got outsmarted by a President who can't find his pants," tweeted Nancy Mace (R-SC).  But Ronny Jackson hasn't demanded that Biden take a cognitive test lately, nor has Nikki Haley predicted his imminent death.  Wait till they realize the whole "debt ceiling" thing is off the table until after the 2024 elections.  Old Joe does OK on soft food.

(Mr. Squeaker, if they ask you to take the Trump test, the answers are "Person, woman, man, camera, TV."   Don't forget now.)
Here are some stories I didn't click on today:

"India:  Official fined after draining reservoir in search of mobile phone"  (The Guardian)

"UK crime:  Man admits freezing leg of alleged 'eunuch maker' who was accused of broadcasting live castrations"  (also)

"The worrying rise in dengue fever and what it could mean for the UK"  (The Independent)

"11-month-old girl dies after allegedly being left in car as parents went to church"  (HuffPost, and yes, it happened in Florida)

"Tara Reade, former aide who accused Biden of assault, moves to Russia"  (HuffPost again)
All right, I took a peek.  She's not at all sad.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

What just happened?

 That high-pitched sound that probably woke awakened you has been identified as the extremest of the extreme spontaneously combusting.  I understand the colors were unearthly.

Uganda passed a law which imposes life in prison for being gay and it met with condemnation from Joe Biden and Ted Cruz.  Can anyone remember the last time they agreed on anything?  No, because never.  Biden's fine but Cruz is catching all kinds of flak from Christofascists on his right, a place that barely shows up on a map.  Perhaps the saddest came from those sad young men the Log Cabin Republicans:  "The Biden Admin squarely owns this setback in Africa.  Weak leadership and feckless foreign policy positions have eroded American human rights values."  Not like the Trump Admin, a golden age for human rights everywhere.  I don't remember Cruz or Trump denouncing hate laws in Texas, Florida or other states, or even defending Target's right to stock Pride merchandise, but a "shithole country" like Uganda is a safe target.

Nothing is certain until the gavel gets banged but it looks like Wily Joe managed to negotiate a debt ceiling that preserves climate and clean energy funds, protects health care for veterans (along with Social Security, Medicaid, SNAP with more work requirements), caps non-defense spending and gives Joe Manchin his precious natural gas pipeline to further endanger West Virginia's environment.  When the Squeaker got back to his office I assume he checked to make sure he still had his watch and wallet.  The MAGA caucus is enraged but he doesn't need their votes.  Oh, and prepare to spend more time on hold if you need to call the IRS.  

Of course, McCarthy may no long be head boy when it comes to a vote because the likes of Chip Roy and Dan Bishop are already threatening to use the "motion to vacate the chair" in their promised "reckoning" with his betrayal.  Who would replace him?  Well, George Santos is otherwise engaged, preparing for his trial and serving as, I swear, his own campaign finance chair.  Margie Greene is openly jeered and laughed at.  Never mind, plenty more fruit on that poisonous tree.

Wanted:  Lindsey Graham.  By Russia, which issued a warrant for his arrest after he described US aid to Ukraine as "the best money we've ever spent."  Graham's response was almost admirable:  "I will submit to jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court if you do.  Come and make your best case.  See you in The Hague!"   Putin has more important things to worry about, like the possibility of a coup by Yevgeny Prigozhin and his Wagner Group and the drone strikes on Moscow.  (He had the brass to accuse Ukraine of using "intimidation tactics" and "terrorist activity" against Russian civilians.  Bitch, please.)  Anyway, Lindsey Graham won't be a guest on the Tucker Carlson show anytime...oh, wait.

I don't think he'll be assassinated, either, no matter what Margarita Simonyan says.  Putin's Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment was outraged:  "If Lady Graham really said that money for killing Russians is the best money ever spent, I hope that in our country the sons or grandchildren of Sudoplatov are alive...It's not even hard.  We have his address."  (Sudoplatov was the dude who helped plan the murder of Trotsky.)  "Lady Graham"?  Only we're allowed to call him a closet-case, honey.  Go listen to some Lady Tchaikovsky and calm down.

What is the Republican obsession with the gorgeousness of their wives?  Is it supposed to be a measure of their manliness?  Trump was constantly whining that Vogue should be investigated for its refusal to put his 51 percent silicone First Escort on the cover.  Now Ron DeSantis is crying on Mark Levin's shoulder about the conspiracy to keep America from seeing how spectacular his wife Casey is.  "If she were a Democrat she'd be on every fashion magazine," he pouted.  I don't know, what do you think?

She coordinates her Nancy Reagan red with her husband's tie, but a knockout?  And what's up with that wave?  She's no Martha Stewart.

DeSantis has vowed to "destroy leftism in this country and leave woke ideology in the dustbin of history," which is quite a mouthful of pudding.  He'll have to work on his apocalyptic ranting if he wants to compete with Trump, whose Memorial Day message was about himself like all the others, climaxing with a promise to "stop the communists, Marxists and fascist 'pigs' at every turn."   Enjoy the music because the lyrics aren't supposed to make sense.    

Sunday, May 28, 2023

What is the law? Are we not men?


Molly Ivins's birthday is not until August but she got an early gift Saturday when the Texas legislature, which is slightly redder than the surface of Mars, voted 121-23 to impeach attorney general Ken Paxton in the eighth year of his criminal indictment for everything from stealing a pen to taking bribes.  They waited until the leg (as she called it) was about to recess for over a year, so it's not clear when his trial will take place, but dayum, it's a day no one expected to see.  Trump and Cruz are outraged, so that's fun, too.  Paxton responded by branding the speaker, Dade Phelan, a liberal drunk.  There's going to be some impressive jurispruding here, you bet.  Who's bringing the barbecue-flavor popcorn?

If you're thinking Texas's chief law enforcement official has a novel approach to his job, you haven't been paying attention to James Comer of the House Overlook Committee.  Comer decided to start a rumor that Joe Biden took a $5 million bribe from someone while he was vice-president and then challenge the FBI to confirm or deny it.  To prove his seriousness he plans to charge Director Christopher Wray with contempt for failing to produce the document which will prove this just because it does not exist.  (See Trump v. Raffensperger, "Find me 11,780 votes," 2020.)  So far the only crime of which the president is unquestionably guilty is being the father of Hunter Biden, and even Margie Greene doesn't think that's an impeachable offense.  Not like letting those billions of illegals cross the southern border.  And the search for the missing whistleblower goes on.

Another waste of House space, Glenn Grothman (R-WI) arose during debate over the debt limit to point out the real problem with our judiciary:  not enough straight white male judges.  Glenn's done the math (or an intern did) and reports that out of 97 federal judges appointed in the past two years, only five were "white guys" and two of those were gay so they don't count.  A personal injury lawyer named Max Kennerly, who tweets on legal matter, dug a little deeper and reports that the totals are:  779 white men, 63 Black women currently on the federal bench (no stats on their orientation).  It's no wonder white men like Kyle Rittenhouse keep getting a raw deal.

Naomi Pena Villasano describes herself as a "two hundred percenter:  100 percent Mexican and 100 percent American," and she wanted to wear this scarf at her graduation from a rural Colorado high school.  The school district says no and was upheld by Judge Nina Y. Wang, even though clothing has long been established as a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment.  An attorney for the Garfield County School District claims it could open the door to "offensive material."  The governmental obsession with how people dress remains a weirdly fraught matter.  

According to Business Insider Jayson Boebert was "drinking beer and cleaning a gun" when he was served with divorce papers on behalf of the eminent Congresswoman.  An affidavit from the process server says, "He started yelling and using profanities...I told him I was leaving the documents on the chair outside of the door, he closed the door then let the dogs out."  Boebert says he thought it was "some crazy leftwing person coming to my house again."  The gentlelady (as House rules demand she be called) frequently preaches about Christian marriage ("If you start chasing Jesus with everything that you have, I promise you your husband will chase you chasing Jesus").  Thus the love affair that began when sixteen-year-old Lauren Opal Roberts saw Jayson exposing himself in front of a bowling alley comes to its sad end.  Now she has more time to accuse Joe Biden of muzzling free speech by denouncing antisemitism.  And chase Jesus.


In which they serve...White Gladis and her gang of orcas have attacked more than 250 boats in the Straits of Gibraltar, sinking three.  The Royal Navy is fighting back by sprinkling sand in the water and having sailors bang on pots to confuse the killer whales' sonar.  This makes it hard for them to identify and destroy a vessel's rudder.  Horatio Nelson, who won a significant battle in the neighborhood in 1805, would be impressed.

Friday, May 26, 2023


 A confession:  I grew up without any acquaintance with the Great Children's Classics -- no Beatrix Potter, no Laura Ingalls Wilder, no fairy tales that I can remember.  My parents were new at parenting and just pointed me toward their own shelves of Dickens, Poe, biographies and assorted long-forgotten novelists of the 1940s (Samuel Shellabarger, anyone?  Kathleen Winsor?).  So I have no emotional attachment to Winnie the Pooh, either as the companion of the late Queen Elizabeth or the subject of a 2023 British slasher film.   If the copyright owner could not keep the bear out of the public domain, well, this kind of thing happens.  I suppose the XXX version of Little Women will be along at some point.

One appropriation of Pooh is too disturbing to be overlooked.  Texas schoolchildren, forbidden to read anything about Black or trans people, will have access to a Stay Safe Book where Pooh teaches them to "run, hide, fight" when a gunman enters the school.  Texas will do anything to protect children except restrict access to firearms, especially assault weapons -- it will even harvest their DNA to help medical examiners match up their small body parts.  As I said, I'm not a reader but my understanding is that the bear is from Peru, which doesn't fit the Texas attitude toward Spanish-speaking immigrants.  It seems more than presumptuous to press-gang him into the state's campaign of teaching children that they are hostages to a specious reading of the Second Amendment.


    "If there is danger, the police will come fast to catch the stranger."  Not available in Uvalde.

But we are all hostages.   Those of us who don't want to see the global economy explode like a new Tesla are the problem, according to Matt Gaetz, who doesn't even bother with euphemism.  "I think my conservative colleagues for the most part support Limit, Save, Grow, and they don't feel like we should negotiate with our hostage."  Fuck you, capitalism, this is about proving how powerful we are.  Biden says he's "very optimistic" about the debt limit, which I hope means he's prepared to shove the Fourteenth Amendment straight up their trumps.  Somebody needs to put sanity first and it's not going to be the Big Giant Head.  No negotiation with terrorists.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Gate crashers

 On Saturday night the mysterious Sai Varshith Kandula repeatedly rammed his truck into a White House barricade and told investigators he had come to "kill the president" and "seize power."  Is he a Hitler fan?  Of course he is.

Today a man drove his car into a security gate at 10 Downing Street and was arrested for criminal damage and dangerous driving.  No word on his political ambitions at this time.  Curious coincidence?

I ask because the UK increasingly echoes the US, at least when it comes to potentially violent extremism.  Last week, for example, the National Conservatism conference was held in a partially filled hall in London, sponsored by America's Edmund Burke Foundation.  (They called it NatCon, but they should have known that others would call them NatC's.  Poor planning there.)  The far right of the Tory Party mingled with Yanks like Kevin Roberts of the Heritage Foundation and Yoram Hazony of the Burkers to condemn immigration, low birth rates, "cultural Marxism" and the left generally.  Mandatory military service was also mentioned, and for comic relief there was crackpot historian David Starkey, who believes increased attention to slavery stems from certain people's "jealousy" of the Holocaust.  Can we agree they were both bad?

As individual Britons and the country grow poorer, a new word has been coined for the experience of leaving the EU:  "Bregret."  More than half tell poll-takers that Brexit was a mistake and they would like another referendum.  It's not clear whether this is the result of changing attitudes on immigration or higher prices for more scarce items like fresh vegetables; maybe both.  The Conservatives are polling 20 percent behind Labour, which is neither beloved nor particularly left under Keir Starmer (who describes his putative government as "Tony Blair on steroids").  Many expect another coalition with the Liberal Democrats.  

When it comes to policing, there are excesses in both countries but those in Britain tend to be less violent.  Sixty-four people were arrested on Coronation Day, six of whom were actual anti-monarchical activists; all six were released without charge.  The rest were just hapless people grabbed off the street or out of private meetings because somebody decided they looked disruptive.  In Indianola, Mississippi, on the other hand, Nakala Murry told her son Aderrien to call 911 when his father arrived at the house in an "irate" mood.  The officer showed up with gun drawn, ordered everyone outside and decided he'd better shoot Aderrien, who is eleven, in the chest.  He is recovering from wounds to his liver, lung and ribs. 

It's not only mass shootings that are breaking records here:  American cities are having to pay a record $20 million to people injured by police during the protests that followed the murder of George Floyd.  Most cities could find other uses for that money, and the number will certainly rise as more litigation moves through the courts.  Racism is fiscally stupid, apart from everything else.

The British are way ahead of us when it comes to legislative raucousness, following well established patterns of groaning and laughing while the Speaker yells for order.  Everyone seems to enjoy it and nobody gets assaulted.  Over here it's a little scarier.  At a fundraising dinner Margie Greene paid $100,000 for a Chapstick used by Squeaker McCarthy, whose lips are raw from Trump's blotchy ass, and was rewarded with the job of Squeaker-for-a-Day.  Steve Scalise was spewing something about the debt limit and Democrats naturally laughed, causing Madame to demand "some decorum on the other side."  Remembering how she dressed up as a balloon and screamed "Liar!" during State of the Union, the other side lost it.  How she loves to pound that gavel.  And now that she owns McCarthy's DNA she can grow her own McCarthy in a peach tree dish.  Margie was coming off a well-publicized snit with Jamaal Bowman, who may have implied that she's a tad racist.  "It's like calling a person of color the N word," she protested.  "I feel threatened by him."  Like that Indianola police officer who felt threatened by Aderrien Murry.  

Your move, Mother of Parliaments.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

This never-ending shade

 Casey Rivara stopped his car in Rocklin, California, to help a duck and her young cross the road.  He was returning to his car when another driver struck and killed him.  That's what it feels like to be alive in this time and place.

Amanda Gorman's poem "The Hill We Climb" was read by her at Joe Biden's inauguration over two years ago.  Only now does the Florida hate community have laws in place to censor it.  Shocked by lines about "a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man," one parent in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools demanded that the poem by "Oprah Winfrey" be removed because it "is not educational and have indirect hate messages."  Well, not removed but placed out of reach of young readers so they won't be "indoctrinated."  Gorman pronounced herself "gutted."  She can take comfort in a Washington Post investigation which found that most of the complaints are coming from "a miniscule number of hyperactive adults."  

I can never remember which Fox News host is supposed to be/trying to be funny.  If it's Greg Gutfeld (or Gutfeld!), he needs better writers.  A 38-year-old female teacher in California had been charged with having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old male student and Gutfeld! thought it was delightful.  "I'm sorry, come on.  Sixteen years old?  I would have died for that!" said the star of the network that calls all Democrats "groomers."  Statutory rape is fine as long as it's not same-sex, I guess.  One panelist objected but Gutfeld! would not be deterred, citing as legal precedent the Van Halen song "Hot for Teacher."  "I don't condone it, I just envy it," was as far as he would backtrack.  

Ron DeSantis really knows how to launch a presidential campaign -- on a Twitter platform few have heard of, with Elon Musk to shelter him from any rude questions.  The run-up has been -- well, unusual.  First Equality Florida and the Human Rights Campaign, now the NAACP have issued warnings to members to avoid the state.  Last week Florida took a hit to its economy when Disney cancelled plans to build a billion-dollar campus near Orlando which would have added more than two thousand jobs.  (Good spot for that new prison, Ron.)  Anybody want to see governing like this in all fifty states?

Maybe South Carolinians do.  Their governor, Henry McMaster, says things like, "I look forward to the day that Democrats are so rare, we have to hunt them with dogs."  DeSantis hasn't pushed a "hunt the woke with dogs" bill through the Floridastag yet, but now that he's been given the idea...

Now this is funny, Gutfeld!  Fox News built a home studio for Tucker Carlson in his Maine bunker and now they've dismantled it.  Now he can't even do Rupert Pupkin "broadcasts" anymore.  Does anyone want life-size cardboard versions of Trump and Orban?

It's hard to tell the Trump campaign team from the Trump legal defense team but another lawyer dropped out of the latter.  Timothy Parlatore was on boxes-of-stolen-documents assignment before he quit, citing constant interference by Trump's Renfield, Boris Epshteyn.  It didn't help that the client boasted to his yuge CNN audience about how he took the stuff and he doesn't care who knows it.  Now a voice from the past, Ty Cobb, who saw the "town hall" too, says there's so much "evidence of guilty knowledge" that for sure Trump is headed to prison.  America is awaiting the Ministry of Truth Social attack on Cobb and his silly mustache and what a bad lawyer he was.  Meanwhile Trump (pretending to be his lawyers) has written to Merrick Garland requesting a meeting about the "ongoing injustice."  It's hilarious.

It's hard to work up much anger at Target and its decision to pull Pride merchandise off the shelves.  Retail employees are hard to hold these days, doubly so when they're getting death threats from MAGA morons.  "Hey, I just work here" doesn't cut it when the mob is baying for blood.  There are other places to shop whose "commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community" is a little more courageous.

Read Amanda Gorman's poem.  Then listen to Tina Turner, who died today.  You'll feel less alone.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Our infinite variety


Sai Varshith Kandula, described as a truck driver from Chesterfield, Missouri, was arrested last night after repeatedly ramming a barricade near the White House.  The Secret Service reported finding a swastika flag in his truck, causing the right to scream "FALSE FLAG!"  Because how could an Indian be a Nazi?  But Kandula was born here, he's only nineteen, and there's always room in the Republican Party for more Nimarata Haleys and Vivek Ramaswamys.  Let's pause to celebrate our all-inclusive fascist movement, its Jews, Blacks, gays, women, hell, give everybody swastika!  Surely they will succeed where the Paleo-Nazis (Aryan only) ultimately failed.

Over at Wonkette, where the sources are better, they reveal more names of Americans who better not try to visit Russia -- and it keeps getting weirder:  Letitia James, former Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Brad Raffensperger, but not Fani Willis.  Brian Williams (?) and Joe Scarborough but not Mika Brzezinski.  Mark Esper.  Governors Jared Polis (Colorado), Josh Shapiro (Pennsylvania), Christine Kotek (Oregon) and Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Arkansas).  Michael Byrd, the Capitol Police officer "who killed Ashley Babbit [sic] during the so-called 'Assault on the Capitol'."  Jack Smith, you betcha!  Gina Ortiz Jones, Undersecretary of the Air Force.  So many names you'd need a government directory to identify.  I don't know what the RAND Corporation and the Carnegie Endowment did to get up Russian noses but keep it up, guys.  If I had to pick a favorite it would be "Stephen Tyrone Colbert, American television host, comedian, actor and writer."  The one with the glasses?  

Major oversight:  E. Jean Carroll.  Since the man who raped her is physically incapable of shutting up, Carroll has asked the judge to amend her successful suit and order further punitive damages.  He's already ranting about it so this will probably end only when one of them dies.  

Purges are an old Russian tradition and one that endures.  Deputy Science Minister Pyotr Kucherenko "became ill" on a flight from Cuba and died at age 46.  According to Russian journalist Roman Super, Kucherenko told him, "You can't imagine the degree of brutalization of our country.  You won't even recognize Russia in a year," and urged him to leave, describing the "special action" as "this fascist invasion [of Ukraine]."  

To end on a happier note, it seems that gravity in Russia is indiscriminate in its victims.  All kinds of sources report that Putin fell down some stairs and shat himself in his Moscow residence, possibly because of bowel and stomach cancer.  Such a pity, and he's only 70.

Forget Moby Dick.  Meet White Gladis.  Perhaps because of a traumatic collision with a boat, this female orca has been attacking boats off the Iberian coast.  Gladis is also teaching this behavior to other adult orcas, who in turn teach their young.  That's right, an orca army is forming up, fed up with the weird land species that makes life miserable or impossible for so many other life-forms.  The animals who have made the oceans hotter and filthier.  Us.  We are now the prey and Heaven have mercy on us all, Presbyterians and Pagans alike.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Losin' it

 Vladimir Putin is losing his war and his mind.  In the wake of the humiliating Glorious Victory parade comes a list of still more Americans who cannot visit Mother Russia.  I can't find a complete tally but I am reminded of a line from Victor/Victoria, a movie which can no longer be shown in either St. Petersburg (Russia) or St. Petersburg (Florida):  Fired from his cabaret job for provoking a riot, Toddy (Robert Preston) observes, "Being thrown out of this place is significantly better than being thrown out of a leper colony."

Brace yourself, it's a deeply schizophrenic list:  Barack Obama, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), Rachel Maddow, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, Rob Reiner, Morgan Freeman, Erin Burnett, Joe Scarborough, Hunter Biden, you see where this is going, right?  No, you don't:  Marjorie Taylor Greene and Bob Casey also made the cut, along with deceased John McCain and Orrin Hatch.  If you think you're among the Fortunate 963, check with the State Department or your local Aeroflot office.  (Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson are still welcome.)

It could be worse.  The Russians want to arrest Karim Khan, a British prosecutor with the International Criminal Court who has the arrest warrant for Putin.  The Russians don't even deny that they are abducting Ukrainian children and giving them to Russian families, as the Nazis did with Polish children who "looked Aryan."  Shamelessness helps.

The deputy defense minister Hanna Maliar says fighting between Ukrainian forces and the Wagner Group (nobody pretends the Russian army is doing anything but looting now) is "critical" in Bakhmut.  Meanwhile a UN report says the Wagners murdered five hundred civilians in Mali last year as they warmed up for atrocities in Ukraine.

Russia continues to shred its own culture sector with the arrest of theater director Ivan Vyrypaev  and film producer Alexander Rodnyansky for criticizing the Russian army.  Dictatorships are very touchy about their military (see People's Liberation Army v. Li Haoshi).  A month ago the Bolshoi was forced to cancel a new ballet about Rudolf Nureyev for violating the ban on "LGBTQ propaganda," which is nearly as strict as Florida's.

Despite fighting an all-in war for survival, the Ukrainian government continues its efforts to root out corruption, a prerequisite for joining the European Union.  The head of the country's Supreme Court was arrested on suspicion of taking bribes (these Benjamins were discovered in a sofa).

John Roberts, it can be done.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

How to Governate

 Yesterday Robert Garcia (D-CA) introduced a motion to expel criminally indicted liar George Santos from the House.  As was predictable, the Republicans indignantly voted it down and sent the matter to the House "Ethics" Committee.  Because they are dicks they then retaliated by trying to expel Adam Schiff, who is not under indictment but is the subject of much speculative double-talk in every Trumper's bedside book the Durham Report.  According to Florida product Ana Paulina Luna Livia Plurabelle, Schiff invented the relationship between Russia and the FBI to steal the 2016 election from Trump and generally destroy His Majesty's reputation.  As if Trump would collaborate with Russians, he who regularly humps the Stars and Stripes.

"When Democrats do something for the right reason, [Republicans] use the precedent to do something for the wrong reason," observed Schiff, in words that should be memorized by all humans.  Expulsion requires a two-thirds vote, so Schiff isn't going anywhere except probably the Senate in 2025.

Over at the new subcommittee on "weaponization" of the government, Chairman Shirtsleeves promises to give time to all the looniest conspiracy theorists, beginning with a couple of agents the FBI fired for promoting vaccine lies, election denial and support for the January 6 coup.  Gym has a needlepoint cushion that says "Branded a terrorist by the SPLC?  Come sit by me."  If you want to warm up the old Benghazi there are many sites that track the spiraling paranoia of the right.  Wired is one of the best.

As Republicans enforce their hatred of the transgendered through legislation, a medical brain drain has begun.  States like Idaho and Texas are seeing doctors depart for places where they can practice medicine and not politics.  When the next pandemic arrives, try to be sure you live somewhere else.

Are you a governor from one of the tumbleweed states (North Dakota) who dreams of living in the big city (Washington)?  Have you cut public spending and taxes to balance the budget?  Have you criminalized certain types of health care?  Have you used force to stop environmental protesters at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation?  If so, you may have convinced yourself that you, Doug Burgum, are the man Republicans are yearning to see run for president.  Don't look back, Asa Hutchinson, something might be gaining on you.

He seems nice.


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

It could be worse

 Perhaps inspired by Noelle Dunphy, Daniel Gill has sued Rudolph Giuliani for conspiring with the City of New York to violate his Constitutional rights.  Who, you ask, is Daniel Gill?  In a Staten Island supermarket in 2022 he slapped the ex-mayor on the back with the cheery greeting, "What's up, scumbag?"  Giuliani may have overreacted just a bit and Gill spent nearly a day in jail waiting to be arraigned for misdemeanor assault.  The suit describes Staten Island as "one of the vanishingly small venues in New York where the fabulist, election-denying, disbarred attorney and late-night-talk-show punchline former mayor Rudolph Giuliani could expect to find a mostly affectionate audience."  Yes, it's colorful civil rights lawyer Ron Kuby getting his digs in.  It doesn't say what monetary damages Gill is looking for but when Dominion Voting Systems, Noelle Dunphy, Judith Nathan et al. are finished he'll be lucky to get subway fare to the courthouse.

It's getting harder to make with the jokes everywhere.  Chinese funnyman Li Haoshi (you probably know him as House) told a story about two stray dogs chasing a squirrel.  For some reason, he said, this reminded him of the slogan "Fight well, win the battle."  I didn't get it either, but it was too close to the motto of the People's Liberation Army and House's employers were fined nearly two million dollars.  On WeChat, the People's Twitter, someone wrote, "The clown will be severely punished!"  Tough room.

After all these years of breasts and bikinis, how did Sports Illustrated attract attention to another swimsuit issue?  With a cover model who is 81.  Martha Stewart says she has had no surgical improvements but she obviously has the time and the resources to look fabulous.  (The photographer Ruven Afanador doubtless helped.)  There has been plenty of sniping, of course, but not as much as in 2021 when Leyna Bloom became the first transgender cover model.  Sports Illustrated is just hopelessly woke, one more thing to oppress all the straight white men entitled to be pandered to.

And so is Miller Lite beer, currently running a commercial where Ilana Glazer, fully clothed, denounces commercials of the past full of barely clothed women.  It's probably a gambit designed to sell beer to women.  So beer is over.  No manly Josh Hawley-type man can drink it ever again.  Millennium approaches.  Something else for Trump to avenge when he takes power.  

I say "takes" because Tommy Tuberville no doubt spoke for the whole cult when he ranted, "Let's don't have elections anymore."  A staffer read the Durham "Report" and told Coach what it said and he's furious that so much effort went into stealing the 2016 election from Trump.  Also people should go to jail.  I couldn't agree more.  Mr. Garland?  Any comments?  

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Margaret Thatcher?

 "Giuliani demeaned and sexualized Margaret Thatcher and wondered about the effect she would have on his penis."

It isn't every day you read a sentence like that in a court filing but today isn't every day.  Noelle Dunphy, former "personal assistant" to America's Mayor, is suing him for $10 million, charging sexual abuse and failure to pay her salary, and the startling reference to Baroness Thatcher is not even the warm-up.  Let's say that his performance in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is an amusing Hitchcock-type cameo by comparison.

Ms. Dunphy was not a wide-eyed intern.  She has a LinkedIn profile describing herself as a consultant with contacts among the Important, including Trump, Giuliani and "Celebrity Chef David Burke," whoever that is.  Also a model specializing in All-American Girl ads, which must have made it easier to wear the short-shorts Giuliani bought her "with an American flag on them."  I'm not a lawyer but it seems like sexual abuse will be hard to prove, given that she acknowledges providing him with oral sex while he talked on speaker phone with Trump and others; he told her it made him "feel like Bill Clinton."  I think we can all be grateful that he never got any closer to the presidency.

But it's not all prurient detail.  Oh lordy, Ms. Dunphy has tapes, evidently made with the boss's permission, of conversations with all sorts of people, many of them named Trump.  Emails, too, from some of society's worst, including Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Lev Parnas, Tucker Carlson, Recep Erdogan, Jeff Sessions, Newt Gingrich, Sean Hannity and Rupert Murdoch.  She alleges that Giuliani was selling pardons for $2 million and splitting the proceeds with Trump, which sounds perfectly plausible to me (where would Joe Arpaio get two million bucks?).  That sound you heard was Jack Smith hiring more lawyers.

Still...Margaret Thatcher?  In one of the more cringy passages of Hitch-22 Christopher Hitchens describes the pleasure he experienced when she smacked his bottie-boos with a rolled-up Act of Parliament.  Or maybe it was a speech, or a copy of The New Statesman.  Who the hell cares?  Why do people force me to think about these things?  

"If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts," said Satchel Paige.  I think I'll go and do just that.


Robert Kennedy, Jr., thought of a new way to make himself ridiculous that has nothing to do with immunology or Putin.  He declared, "President [sic] Trump has shown himself to be the most devastating debater, probably, since Abraham Lincoln."  Presumably he is referring to the seven debates Lincoln had with Stephen A. Douglas in 1858, which failed to persuade most listeners because Douglas won election to the Senate.  But we still study them for Lincoln's eloquence in shouting "WRONG!" whenever Douglas made a point, and calling him a "runty little sidewinder," and implying that since he was taller and had bigger hands, well, you know.  Go home, Kennedy, you're embarrassing your mother.

We know a little more about the attack at Gerry Connolly's Virginia office.  Xuan Kha Tran Pham asked for the Congressman by name before assaulting two staff members.  He is currently suing the CIA for "wrongfully imprisoning me in a lower perspective based on physics called the book world since 1995" and torturing him "from the fourth dimension."  Schizophrenia?  QAnon?  Not my call.

In the course of investigating that scare we learned of another.  National security adviser Jake Sullivan has a Secret Service detail when in Washington but nobody prevented a possibly drunk man from walking into his house at 3 am last month.  Sullivan himself saw the man off and went outside to awaken alert his bodyguards.  No one was arrested.  

The Biden trial continues on Fox whenever some host will give the kangaroos room to set up their court.  Ron Johnson carefully explained to Larry Kudlow that lack of evidence is proof of crime because crime can be inferred from the absence of evidence.  Because evidence is just what criminals conceal, silly Larry!  I'm impressed that he used "infer" correctly but he's still the stupidest person in the Senate by a few points over Tommy Tuberville.  Margie Greene's over at the Treasury Department right now, examining documents which will prove Biden's long history of evidence-free guilt stretching back to, I don't know, the New Deal?  He's hundreds of years old and possibly a lizard.  She has promised to bring him down, and I can't wait to see her try.  Maybe he helped the Jews kill Lincoln.

Buying low and selling high is a thing billionaires do, isn't it?  It's apparently what George Soros did with his Tesla stock.  But George Soros is no ordinary billionaire like that FOC (Friend of Clarence) who owns Hitler's teapot.  He's an evil genius controlling world finance and bankrolling Marxist DAs who let Black criminals terrorize cities and lock up Good Samaritan Marines.  "He wants to erode the very fabric of civilization.  Soros hates humanity."  Lighten up, Elon, it's just stock in one of your many collapsing enterprises.   

Ron Johnson's main rival, Marsha Blackburn, is delighted with the long-awaited report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, delivered yesterday by special counsel John Durham (played by Richard Dreyfuss):

Marsha is sure the Big Report proves, with no evidence, that it was Hillary Clinton "cooking this plan up" to defeat herself.  She's cunning, all right, but you can't fool a Tennessee Republican.  Hey!  I wonder if Marsha can find the whistleblower, or at least the informant.  

Another beautiful Christian marriage crashes and burns:  Jayson and Lauren Boebert are pffft.  They ask for privacy, which she is happy to deny to all other Americans and their health care providers.  In a poignant reminiscence she recalls that she was sixteen when they eloped but (she adds with a straight face) "this was no shotgun wedding."  

Monday, May 15, 2023

Hidin' from Biden


In 2004 George W. Bush entertained the Radio and Television Correspondents annual banquet with a video presentation where he pretended to search the Oval Office for those elusive Weapons of Mass Destruction which were the official rationale for invading Iraq.  It was hilarious unless you had a family member killed or wounded in that pointless war or were just not completely depraved.  Depravity prevailed to the extent that Bush won a second term.

Why remember that shameful comedy shtick?  Because I feel like it's about to repeat itself.  The House Overlook Committee's rotund chairman James Comer has spent the spring promoting the story that he is inches away from blowing the roof off the Corrupt Biden Family with all sorts of dire political and criminal consequences.  Periodically Comer shows up on the TV screen to assure America of the whistleblowers and informants who have what Hemingway called the True Gen, only they seem to be missing.  But they really exist, really, the fact that no one else can see them only means that they are in what the chairman calls "the spy business," so you can't just call them on the phone.  Or maybe...maybe...they are being "intimidated" by someone in the White House.  Yeah, that's it.  They're hidin' from Biden!  Because of how he's known for things like intimidating witnesses and siccing his supporters on people.  Or was that someone else, someone from whom the names of jurors have to be concealed, for example?  I don't know, but Biden is terrifying when he isn't wandering around trying to remember his name.

And what is Biden doing instead of appeasing the Squeaker on the debt limit or solving the border "crisis" or ending the war in Ukraine?  Biden is in Philadelphia watching his granddaughter Maisie Biden graduate from the University of Pennsylvania.  All morning!  We paid for that trip.  How many grandchildren does he have?    

I hope the informant has a safe place to stay like a Georgia poll worker, because it's a dangerous world. A man with a baseball bat walked into the Fairfax office of Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and attacked two staff members, not lethally.  He was arrested and we're waiting anxiously to find out what his political position is.  It's very mysterious.  Connolly says he showed signs of "out of control rage" and also smashed computers and shattered glass. 

Kaitlan Collins must feel like she's being pursued with baseball bats.  Now she's getting attacked by Trump, again, for daring to interrupt Tuesday's tongue-bath with an actual question.  Despite his supposed triumph over CNN in front of an adoring mob, Trump has spent the week incoherent with rage, from a Mothers Day greeting splattered with spittle to "neurotic little AOC with the bad looking boyfriend," whatever that means.  For someone who can't stand to be laughed at, he keeps littering cyberspace with irresistible straight lines.  "She's no Barbara Walters," he sneered, as if Walters would have tolerated his bullshit even until the first commercial.  She's also no Martha Gellhorn or Oriana Fallaci but Trump won't have heard of them.  They weren't his type (TV stars).

Luckily for Trump his nearest rival is a moron.  Ron DeSantis heard that a million dollars has been raised for Daniel Penny's defense fund and decided it was time to jump in front of that parade, praising the subway killer as "a Good Samaritan."  It was pretty funny when Mehdi Hasan, who is a Muslim, had to straighten him out on the Gospel of Luke.  

I don't know what religion Jeff Tiedrich follows, if any, but this is also primo.

Was it "evil" of Joe Biden to deliver the commencement speech at Howard University on Saturday, in which he identified white nationalism as the greatest threat we face?  Fox News thought so.  How dare he "pander" to Black people instead of calling Nazis "very fine people"?


Saturday, May 13, 2023

Nothing changes, everything changes


New York finally decided to do something about the very public killing of Jordan Neely, charging Daniel Penny with manslaughter.  Was the decision controversial?  Well, the officer on the right is wearing a bulletproof vest.  I don't know the details of his bond but Penny and his porn 'stache will probably have to miss Eric Trump's ReAwaken America Bund Rally in Miami.

Gabriella Gonzalez had to travel to Colorado for an abortion.  When she got back to Dallas Harold Thompson, the father of the fetus, was unhappy.  He put her in a chokehold, which she managed to escape, and then shot her.  He too has been charged with manslaughter but unlike Penny can expect a pardon from the governor if convicted.  Texas is big on law and order, selectively.

The British director Guy Ritchie has taken up the case of an Afghan pilot who fought with British and American forces and is now facing deportation to Rwanda, the UK's official dumping ground for unwanted immigrants.  The government apparently learned nothing from Joanna Lumley's campaign on behalf of Gurkhas who fought for Britain in the Second World War.  (It's hardly her fault that their re-settlement was less than perfect.)  How far will the Tories go to appease the worst racist elements of the party?  Ask the Republicans.  

Judge Juan Manuel Merchan was unhappy about the just-concluded trial of Carroll v. Trump -- the years of pre-trial delay, the abusive rants on Twitter and then Ministry of Truth Social, the cowardly bluster from European golf courses, the continued defamation of the plaintiff as recently as Tuesday -- and he's determined that it not be repeated in his court.  He has ordered Trump to appear by video on May 23 to hear a lecture on the rules of procedure in the criminal case of New York v. Trump and make sure he knows what the legal meaning of "contempt" is.  Meanwhile, of course, the sexual predator's lawyers are trying to get the case moved to federal court for some reason, because that worked so well in the Carroll lawsuit.  

The far right's effort to conflate Jewishness with support for the Israeli government took a goofy turn on Wednesday when Bernie Sanders appeared at a Nakba event organized by Rashida Tlaib.  (Nakba is Arabic for "catastrophe" and refers to the removal of Palestinians from their homes in 1948.)  This led Ben Shapiro to proclaim Sanders "as Jewish as a ham sandwich."  Apparently Jews who don't keep kosher are also ruled out by Rabbi Shapiro.

Is the US permanently fragmented?  Maybe it always was.  Kansas City has declared itself a sanctuary for the transgendered as Missouri passes still more anti-LGBTQ laws to keep them from playing sports.  It's hard not to think of Newton Knight and his efforts to create the Free State of Jones in Mississippi after it broke away from the US.  There are rightwing counties in Oregon right now that would prefer to link up with white nationalist Idaho.  Republican-controlled legislatures in Tennessee and Montana are not content with outvoting the Democrats in their midst and have begun trying to expel them.  We can't even pretend to live side by side anymore.

As grotesque as Trump is, we can be grateful he hasn't stripped on live TV like his BFF Nigel Farage.  All the horrifying details are on Twitter.  The Trumpers love those Jon McNaughton paintings which carry on the Hans Holbein tradition of flattering fat slobs like Henry VIII, but on some level Trump is not delusional enough to appear in a Speedo. 

I did not know this:  Back in 2003, when foreign terrorism was still a greater concern than the domestic kind, the skies over the two Disney theme parks became no-fly zones.  This annoyed advertisers and the aviation industry no end but was considered prudent in view of the thousands of people who fill Disneyland and Disney World every day.  (Well, the president did urge that in response to 9/11 we all go shopping -- it's practically the same thing.)  But Disney is now the enemy in the War on Woke and two mean girls named Boebert and Greene have patched up their spat to join Troy Nehls (R-TX) in a bill to revoke this privilege.  (Notice none of them represents Florida or California.)  Wouldn't it be funny if this idiot legislation passed and the next day someone flew a plane into Splash Mountain?  No, it wouldn't, but the people who embarrassed Governor Sununu by hooting and cheering Trump's attacks on E. Jean Carroll would shit themselves laughing.

Another case of Supreme Court corruption was narrowly averted.  Some high school friends of Justice Elena Kagan decided she needed a care package and tried to send her a gift basket of bagels and lox from the legendary New York deli Russ & Daughters.  As the would-be organizer said, "She turned it down because her ethical standard is to not accept any gifts." 

You can send it to me, ladies.



Thursday, May 11, 2023

Fractured scary tales

 In all the commentary about last night's New Hampshire hate rally, no one has observed that Kaitlan Collins dressed head to toe in white.  Sort of like Pontius Pilate waving a bottle of Purell.

Mostly Collins floundered as she attempted to "fact check" the fascist choad (it would have been easier to ring a bell every time he said something true).  But with very little effort she elicited this confession of stealing classified documents:  "I was there and I took what I took and it gets declassifed..."  At which point Jack Smith closed his computer and went for a run.  Game over.

According to Ben Terris's forthcoming volume of Washington gossip, Dianne Feinstein congratulated Tim Scott two years ago because she mistook him for Raphael Warnock.  This bombshell comes one day after Ted Cruz tweeted an attack on Rep. Colin Allred, who is running for his seat, with a picture of Alvin Bragg.  Interesting timing.

There were two mass shootings in Serbia last week.  Appalled Serbians have already handed six thousand unregistered guns, 470 explosive devices and nearly 300,000 rounds of ammunition in to the police.  See, Texas, that's how you do it.

Squeaker McCarthy says he's not supporting George Santos for re-election but won't demand his resignation.  Eric Adams says the death of Jordan Neely "should never have happened" but won't say his killer should be prosecuted.  These two should tour as The Invertebrate Brothers.  The opening act could be Mike Pence, who assured an interviewer that in over four years he never saw Trump rape anyone.  Not even the female staffer he could never be left alone with, according to Stephanie Grisham.  

This is Eric Trump with his pal Charlie Ward.  Not to be confused with the former NBA star, good grief, do not do that.  This one is so antisemitic that an SS veterans group asked him to tone it down.  Charlie will be Eric's guest at Trump Doral Whatever this weekend, or possibly not, as of now it's not clear.  What is clear is that Ward blames Jews for absolutely everything, including various diseases, the assassinations of Lincoln, JFK and perhaps Marvin Gaye, the heroin trade, "child blood sacrifices" and of course controlling the world.  I'm not saying Eric is stupid but he claims he had no idea his friend had such extreme ideas until Rachel Maddow outed him.  Poor Eric.  Where can you book another Nazi at the last minute?  

Oh, right.  Tommy Tuberville.


Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Walking on sunshine

I know something will happen to curdle my milk but right now I'm on a natural high.  The sun is shining, Oscar Levant is playing an abbreviated version of the Tchaikovsky First on TCM (The Barkleys of Broadway) and it's a magical Wednesday.  Trump was found liable for $5 million worth of sexual battery and defamation.  "The Republican member purportedly known as George Santos," as Ted Lieu calls him, was arrested on charges of money laundering, wire fraud and several other federal raps.  To prove that he has learned nothing from Daddy's experience of defaming women, Eric Trump is threatening to sue Rachel Maddow for talking about his connections to neo-Nazis like Scott "the Jews killed Lincoln" McKay.  It's all too rich.  I feel like I should check my blood sugar and I'm not even diabetic.

The media have even started using this picture of E. Jean Carroll instead of the one with cropped hair.  Another subtle victory for women.

Of course the Squeaker and his R'clown Caucus are still determined to cripple the global economy to prove that Joe Biden is not the boss of them, but I never said it was a perfect world.  At least most people didn't have a meteorite come through the roof like this family in Hopewell Township, New Jersey.  

Once it hurtled through space as part of Halley's Comet.  Now it's a paperweight in New Jersey.  There's a lesson here for all of us.  

I just feel like ending with a barbecued Tesla.  I couldn't tell you why.

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Well, that didn't take long

 E. Jean Carroll's lawsuit went to the jury today, and before five o'clock they all agreed that Trump was guilty of sexual battery and defamation, that'll be $5 million please.  Of course the rapist called the verdict "a disgrace" but never came within a hundred miles of the courtroom.  No extra charge for cowardice.  I'll bet Joe Tacopina has to sue for his fee.

Just as after a mob trial, Judge Kaplan told the jurors they were free to identify themselves publicly -- but "not now and not for a long time."  Then he directed them not to name one another.  We all know what happens to people who cross the Don.  Kaplan probably has extra protection himself.

A spokesman for the convicted rapist had a statement already concocted, referencing "the enemies of American freedom and democracy" among other fertilizer.  I'm sure Kaitlan Collins will have many tough questions to ask at tomorrow night's "town hall."  ("So, Mr. President, who makes better maple syrup, New Hampshire or Vermont?")  Be there, will be mild.

Three days after the Allen massacre the Texas authorities are still unsure of Mauricio Garcia's motive.  Sure, he left scores of online posts full of Nazi symbols and hatred of LGBTQ people, women and liberals, often signing them "Heil Hitler," and the Army kicked him out for being unstable, but what could his beliefs have been?  It's a puzzle.

When people write their manifestos on their skin, believe them.

Jake Tapper can stop picking on Dick Durbin because Dianne Feinstein will be back in Washington on Monday, her shingles in remission, ready to vet some Biden judges.  You ever have shingles, Jake?  I hope you never do.  I understand you're trying to salvage CNN's reputation despite commentators like Corey Lewandowski and shitshows like tomorrow night's free campaign ad, but find another way.  By the way, Trump despises you and your network as much as ever and darkly warns that tomorrow "could turn into a disaster for all, including me."  Is there a plan to shoot him on the air like Howard Beale?  Well, would you consider it?  Think of the ratings!

Starks, Louisiana.  Kids playing hide-and-seek in David Doyle's backyard.  Doyle saw shadows so he went for his gun and shot a fourteen-year-old in the head.  She's expected to survive.  Damn kids won't do that again.

Russian solitaire

 On this day in 1945 the Third Reich surrendered to the United States, France, Great Britain and their allied powers, but only Russia continues to celebrate the hell out of it.  The rest of us have moved on.  Russia, then known as the USSR, remains stuck in a moment of victory for which it has long claimed sole credit.  Only they call it the Great Patriotic War.  The victory over Germany quickly became a victory over fascism, i.e., the capitalist West in general, and thus anyone who opposes Russian designs is by definition a fascist.  It's only funny when you remember Vladimir Putin's admiration for the fascist mystic Ivan Illyin, whose books he distributes as gifts, whose bones he disinterred and reburied in Moscow.  Most Americans have never heard of him.

"Victory Day" was a grim affair, by all accounts, with Putin ranting about a Russia surrounded by enemies and upholding alone "civilization."  Not very much about the huge sacrifices eight decades ago in the necessary destruction of Hitlerism.  Quite a lot inflating Ukraine into some Fourth Reich which defies Russia on behalf of the Woke West.  Even the once-grandiose parade was a shadow, with a single tank representing the thousands blown to pieces in Donetsk and Kherson.  No flyover -- no planes to spare, either.  As a general rule, the tighter the security around a "national celebration," whether a victory or a coronation, the more the authorities fear the people.  Putin is scared.

Russian cruise missiles pounded Kyiv as he spoke, but elsewhere between 63 (the official number) and hundreds of Russian troops died in Makiivka when Himar missiles from the US hit a facility where soldiers were quartered alongside ammunition.  This is a rookie mistake after more than a year of war, but it reminds us that Russian life is as cheap as it was in the 1940s.  

Why were 40 million Soviet citizens killed between 1939 and 1945?  There were nearly nine million military deaths.  Another fifteen million civilians were shot or starved by the Germans.  Over a hundred thousand troops were killed by the NKVD for crimes ranging from "defeatism" to falling asleep on guard duty.  If a soldier defected and his comrades failed to shoot him, they would be shot and their families would be arrested.  If an illiterate draftee from Turkmenistan picked up a propaganda leaflet to roll his cigarette, same deal.  It's one way to enforce discipline but it tends to prolong the war.  And the USSR had a lot of catching up to do in 1941, because the great genius Stalin threatened to shoot anyone who mentioned the million or so German troops massing on his border.  Yes, it was an astonishing victory over a country which could never win a two-front war, which ran out of everything American farmers and factories supplied to the Soviets -- food, trucks, shells, tires, airplane engines, industrial lubricant, everything but slave labor, which both sides created themselves.  

Maybe the democracies don't celebrate this day because they don't want to remember when they linked arms with evil to destroy worse evil.