Malaka Of The Week: Corey Stewart

Corey Stewart is a far-right Trump humping Republican politician running for Governor of Virginia. One of his main campaign issues is “preserving” Confederate monuments in the commonwealth. Virginia is a place where there’s not currently much controversy over Confederate iconography. That is why Corey Stewart has injected himself into the New Orleans monuments removal controversy. And that is why he is malaka of the week.

The other day I urged pro-removal forces in New Orleans to use the term white supremacy instead of Confederate. It’s not only more accurate, it puts the onus on monuments supporters. Who wants to stand up for white supremacy as opposed to historic preservation? The Confederate label allows them babble about “erasing history.”

Much of Malaka Stewart’s babbling has been on his Tweeter Tube feed. Here’s a sampler:

I’m not from the South BUT I’ve lived in the Gret Stet of Louisiana for 60% of my life. It’s not just “Yankees” who want the white supremacy monuments removed. It’s funny how racist malakas like Stewart think only white folks are genuine Southerners. They are not.  Hell, Stewart himself is a transplant from Minnesota. I think he’s overcompensating for his own Yankeetude.

I don’t know any black folks who favor keeping these monuments to white supremacy. Imagine that. I wonder if Malaka Stewart considers them 3/5 of a Southerner. That’s how the constitution calculated it. I have a hunch that Stewart has about as much use for black folks as he does for “mainstream cuckservatives.”

Malaka Stewart claims to believe that “blue lives matter.” I suspect he’s unaware that the so-called Liberty monument celebrated an uprising of white vigilantes against the racially mixed police force of New Orleans in 1874. Did those blue lives matter less because they were opposed to white supremacy? Repeat after me: white supremacy, not Confederate.

I find it beyond ironic that Southern conservatives who claim to believe in state’s rights are injecting themselves into a local controversy. Stay the hell out of our business. The removal was decided democratically by a vote by the New Orleans City Council. They held public hearings as did the HDLC (Historic District Landmarks Commission) which also voted for the removal of the four white supremacy monuments. Repeat after me: stop being an “outside agitator” and stay the hell out of our business.

The lingering controversy over the Lost Cause’s latest loss is partially due to how badly history is taught in the US&A. Supporters of the monuments insist the Civil War was not fought over slavery. They are not only wrong, they’re willfully delusional. It’s a pity that aggressively stupid politicians are capitalizing on historical illiteracy to score points. Of course, stupid is in nowadays. And that is why Corey Stewart is malaka of the week.

Repeat after me: white supremacy, not Confederate. I’ll give Florida Man Tom Petty the last word:

Hmm, maybe Corey Stewart got into the magic mushrooms. Of course, his hallucinations would involve Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Holy bad trip, Batman.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Chicken Skin Music

Ry Cooder is one of the quirkiest artists in rock music history. And 1976’s Chicken Skin Music is quirky even by his standards. It’s also one of his best records. Btw, the title has nothing to do with fried chicken: it’s a Hawaiian expression that means music that gives you goosebumps. Cooder nailed it there.

The album art was done in a Mexican folk art style by Kenny Price. Here we go:

Here’s the entire LP in all its weird glory:

Americans Can’t Have Nice Health Care

So the clear solution is to make them realize how stupid they are for wanting it! 

Additionally, neither the DemocratsObamacare nor the Republicans’ Trumpcare can truly meet the unrealistic expectations of the American public. The public has four major expectations, which are inherently mutually incompatible.

The public wants: (1) freedom to choose doctor and hospital; (2) the latest modern, state-of-the-art technology in diagnostic equipment and medical and surgical treatments; (3) no delay in appointments and treatments; and (4) minimal (or at least, reasonable) cost. People can have two, perhaps three, but in no way can they have all four. That is the reality.

Because this is the weather. It occurred naturally. Our health care system is not man-made, and therefore cannot be changed except here and there around the edges. We can’t actually make anything better.

Also, allow me to introduce you to the world we live in now, in which appointments and treatments ARE routinely delayed even if you have Cadillac insurance, and lots of places have one busted-ass hospital or none at all. If you’re a woman who needs reproductive care, you already have to drive for miles, go out of state, or get legit procedures refused because of said hospitals’ conscience clauses. Walgreens and CVS have eaten every family pharmacy, religious ownership of health care is its own clusterfuck, and your doctor’s office parking lot during flu season is like the Hunger Games.

THAT is the reality.

Neither political party wants to tell the truth, that health care costs keep skyrocketing, fueled by new diagnostic and therapeutic modalities. For example, many of those drugs are heavily advertised on TV, such as the Xeljanz arthritis drug at about $50,000 per year. Then there is the Harvoni or Sovaldi drug to treat hepatitis C, with one $1,000 pill per day for 84 days. Think of that cost, $84,000 times 3 million people.

Which is why fuck those companies, because unless those drugs are made out of fairy wings and blue diamonds, ain’t no way they actually cost that much. Stop confusing “this drug is expensive” with “this drug’s company wanted to charge a bucket of money for it.”

This is not an argument not to change things. This is an argument to nationalize the entire health care system from drugs to delivery rooms, prohibit prescription drug advertising on TV, and put people who are grifting off the illnesses of others into goddamn federal prison.

Even with negotiated lower costs, exotic, high-tech treatments will still be financially ruinous. Also, with people living longer than ever before, they are seeing more degenerative diseases (vascular, cancer, mobility), all of which take an increasing toll. We are seeing more complex multiple system diseases, many with prolonged recovery times. No wonder costs are sailing out of sight.

Just die. It’s cheaper.

I often analogize that the federal government could require an automobile to protect all passengers in an up-to-120 mph crash. We do have the technology to do it, but the cost of your basic low-priced car would probably be over $100,000. There is a cost and a benefit to everything, and medical care is no different.

Yet how seldom we hear this argument when it comes to a national defense. It’s almost like there ARE unlimited funds for some things, if we value them highly enough.

Since there is not an unlimited amount of dollars available, whether by individuals, private insurance or government programs, there have to be rational ways to decide how and where to get the most bang for the buck, and frankly, the political parties and the public must get real as to what is possible.

Perhaps we should begin classifying people by their projected recovery and usefulness to society thereafter, so as to decide who deserves medicine. In the entirety of human history that’s never gone wrong.

The best cost control is when there is a direct relationship between buyer and seller. Perhaps, for outpatient services, we should do what some European countries do — the patient pays the doctor directly, then he turns the receipt into his or her health insurance plan for reimbursement. This puts a great restraint on doctors running up the tab because they have to look the patient directly in the eye.

If you think a doctor has never lied to a patient, you might want to meet this bunch of guys in Tuskegee, Alabama. They all have syphilis for some reason. Maybe you can explain it to them.

But the way it works in our country, the patient never sees the bill, and it becomes a game between the doctor and the insurance carrier.

I will grant that when I ask my doctor how much something will cost, he acts like money is a disgusting sex act and he can’t believe I’m uncouth enough to bring it up in church. HOWEVER, the idea that patients don’t see a bill is high-larious, considering how many medical bankruptcies result among the insured.

Also, although there is no constitutional mandate to provide medical care; perhaps economic reality dictates that the government could provide a basic Volkswagen plan for everyone, and if individuals want to purchase a Buick or Cadillac level of care, then that should be their right to do so.

This would literally be Obamacare if Republican governors hadn’t decided to fuck the program in the hopes of blaming a black dude in order to win elections. But you keep going.

Bottom line: We as a nation, can no longer provide an unlimited social goody list without making sure these desires are on an actuarially sound basis.

Oh, go crowdfund your cancer treatment. I’m sure the market will make the best possible decision as to your actuarial soundness. YOU ARE MAKING AN ARGUMENT FOR DEATH PANELS.

The days of counting on an ever-increasing number of young workers, in high-paying largely manufacturing jobs, to fund seniors’ health care and retirement are over.

Amazing how this seemed to end right around the time the Baby Boom started racking up the bills.

At last, we must recognize, that just as a family needs to be realistic about finances, our federal and state governments must be, too.

Okay, so we’ll take our two unwinnable wars and all our tax cuts and cancel that shit so we can pay for Becky down the street to get a pelvic exam. Why is fucking over poor people always the answer? Why is “a well-child visit for a low-income family” always the hill we gotta die on? We can afford all kinds of stuff. We just hate admitting what we want to afford, so we say we can’t afford it and we get ALL KINDS OF MAD when someone points out that actually, what utter crap.

The people who will relentlessly police the shopping carts of the poor and crab all day about how much soda they buy never really do catch on that government shops pretty shitty, too, and should forgo a few T-bones in favor of paying for chemo. Maybe the government could sell some of its bling.

A.

Vichy On The Potomac

Above is the Free French flag from World War II. It’s the classic tri-color with the Cross of Lorraine smack dab in the middle. America sided with Gen. DeGaulle’s Free French as opposed to the collaborationist Fascist Vichy government of Gen. Petain and Pierre Laval. Deny it as they might, the Le Pens National Front party are the inheritors of the legacy of the nationalist far-right; the ones who turned French and immigrant Jews over to the Nazis during the war. Despite Marine Le Pen’s cosmetic attempts to scrub the stench of anti-Semitism off her party by expelling her openly racist father, the National Front walks in the shoes of the Vichy government.

These are weird times. The current German government led by a conservative who was born in communist East Germany is waving the banner of liberal democracy and anti-Fascism. In France, Marine Le Pen wants to drag her country back to the dark ages with her extremist anti-immigrant platform. The good news is that pollsters nailed yesterday’s first round of voting in the French Presidential election:

On 21 April, the last-day predictions were published, an average of the election’s nine rolling polls put Macron on 24%, Le Pen on 22%, scandal-hit rightwing candidate François Fillon on 20% and hard-left veteran Jean-Luc Mélenchon on 19%.

The final results, declared early on Monday morning by the French interior ministry, showed respective vote shares of 23.75%, 21.53%, 19.91% and 19.64%. For each of the top four candidates, the polls had been out by less than one percentage point.

As I’ve said many time before: nothing is written but I think we can abandon the current CW that the biggest asshole in any race will always win. It looks like Le Pen will lose handily in the run-off  BUT she’s on course to double her father’s total in the 2002 run-off against Jacques Chirac. Jean-Marie Le Pen got 18% of the vote whereas his daughter is on course to get between 36 and 40%. That’s way too much for comfort. Bigoted nationalism remains on the march. Pun on Emmanuel Macron’s party name intended.

That brings me to my rather dramatic post title. Unlike past US Presidents of both parties, Donald Trump has no problem with Marine Le Pen’s Vichy Fascist National Front party. He implicitly endorsed them before the first round:

In an interview with The Associated Press, Trump said that while he is not explicitly endorsing Le Pen, the attack played to her strengths.

“She’s the strongest on borders, and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France,” Trump said in the Oval Office interview. “Whoever is the toughest on radical Islamic terrorism, and whoever is the toughest at the borders, will do well in the election.”

U.S. presidents typically avoid weighing in on specific candidates running in overseas election. But Trump suggested his opinion was no different from an average observer, saying, “Everybody is making predictions on who is going to win. I’m no different than you.”

This is hardly the worst thing that the Insult Comedian has done since winning the electoral vote. It’s not an overt endorsement BUT it’s still sickening. It’s a slap in the face to Americans who fought against Nazism and Fascism. The current occupant has sided with Le Pen’s Vichy Fascism as opposed to the small-d democrats of both center-left and right. It’s a sad day for America as well as a sign that Bannon and his B3 Brownshirts still have influence in the administration*.

Writing a post with a Vichy inspired title turned my mind to last scene of Casablanca. Generations of Americans cheered when Claude Rains threw a bottle of Vichy Water in the garbage:

It may have been heavy-handed symbolism but I cheer every time I see it. With his de facto support of Marine Le Pen, Trump has taken the bottle out of the trash and put it on his desk for all the world to see. Rubbish is still rubbish.

The president* is utterly without shame but I have to say it anyway: shame on you, Donald for betraying all those who died fighting Nazism. You’re supporting a candidate whose party is honeycombed with Holocaust deniers and Vichy apologists. America should always stand with the Free French, not with the Vichy Fascists.

Vive les Maquis.

NOLA White Supremacy Monuments: One Down, Three To Go

The process of removing four Jim Crow era monuments from their current locations has begun. I wish that the city had NOT done so under cover of darkness but the Mayor has said that there were death threats against the work crew. Unfortunately, I believe him. BUT since other security measures were taken, I still think it should have been done during the day. I, for one, am proud of this action, which is why I don’t think we should be sneaking around. It gives the appearance of wrongdoing when they’re doing the right thing. Celebrating hatred and racism is unacceptable.

I also wish Mayor Landrieu would stop calling them Confederate monuments. The one that was removed this morning, the so-called Liberty monument, honors the triumph of white supremacy during Reconstruction. The remaining three statues honor Confederate dignitaries-only one local-and were erected in celebration of white supremacy, which is why I use that term.

It would have been better if there were a post-removal plan in place. I think some form of public display in a park or museum that places them in context is the way to answer charges that we’re trying to erase history.  The removal was relatively well thought out but the aftermath remains murky, which gives ammunition to the erstwhile Gret Stet Fuhrer:

The Alamo, of course, is a monument to Texas independence, not white supremacy. Context and intent are everything is this debate. How does Dukkke think we can “erase” the Founding Fathers? I think their monuments are safe. I would, however, like to shove the Washingtion Memorial up Duke’s ass.

Anyway, I came here to praise the Mayor, as well as to bury the white supremacy monuments, so I’ll stop quibbling about details. I’ll save the nitpicking for another day.

Here’s how one local teevee news organization covered the removal:

 

You Also Can’t Suck

Guys, if you want to have a good news organization, it can’t be bullshit, or be based on bullshit. It’s amazing to you all, I know: 

The company has been unraveling—slowly and spectacularly—for more than a decade now. But this particular moment is a good one for reflecting on how Yahoo’s troubles are likely to be replicated in a wave across the web, and soon, among businesses like news organizations that rely heavily on advertising revenue for their survival.

Print newspapers will continue to fold, but Yahoo’s demise is a signal that web-native companies are next. If you run a business that relies on digital-advertising revenue for an outsized portion of your funding, you need to find new streams of revenue. Now. It may already be too late.

Unless you’re Facebook or Google, that is.

Print newspapers will continue to fold, of course, since they continue to rely on shoving fistfuls of cash up the bungholes of idiot CEOs and clueless consultants and screwing over their paying customers. It has nothing to do with digital ad revenue, which you don’t need a roomful of Yalies to tell you was never going to take the place of the the print ads that aren’t coming back. Learning to live on less than 17 percent profit margins 15 years ago might have saved them, but they didn’t want to do that. Easier to drive those profits into the negative, blame the customers and newsroom, and fuck off to Aruba for a “quarterly meeting.”

This shit will make me angry forever because none of it had to happen.

A.

I Can’t Believe this Garbage Shithouse Organization Housed Shit and Garbage!

Filthy hippies were once derided for cautioning that treating Fox News like a legitimate part of the journalism brotherhood would lead nowhere good, and HOO BOY WHO COULDA KNOWED? 

The letter also includes new allegations of racism in Fox News’s accounting department. According to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, Slater demanded that black employees hold “arm wrestling matches’” with white female employees in her office, just down the hall from Ailes’s office on the 2nd floor of Fox headquarters. “Forcing a black woman employee to ‘fight’ for the amusement and pleasure of her white superiors is horrifying. This highly offensive and humiliating act is reminiscent of Jim Crow era battle royals,” the letter says, referring to the practice of paying black men to fight blindfolded at carnivals for white spectators’ entertainment. The lawyers argue that Efinger bragged about wanting to “fight” a black employee.

It’s almost like there was a culture of the kind of virulent racism that lies under the entire Republican party managed to somehow magically infiltrate the conservative news network! How could that have happened? It surely couldn’t be that building a brand on the back of the resentful white male who conflates “black person who cut me off in traffic while playing ‘raps’ on his stereo” with “all people of color everywhere” could lead to a general contempt for racial minorities that infected every department including accounting, right?

I mean, Jesus, it was like magic, how it managed to be this cesspool of sexist power-worship and racism when that’s all that was on its air, day after day after day after day.

A.

Sunday Morning Video: Genesis Live In 1973

I’d somehow missed this gem. It’s the classic Genesis lineup of Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford, and Phil Collins. It was filmed during the Selling England By The Pound tour. What’s not to like about that? Not a damn thing.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Fate’s Right Hand

Reply To Red by Yves Tanguy.

Spring is prime time for crawfish boils or as the natives say, berls. We’ve been to two in the last three weeks. The first one involved some of the usual suspects and nothing unusual happened other than a five-year-old girl pointing at the sacks of live crawfish and asking, “When will they be dead?” That’s a sassy Louisiana child, y’all. It’s one reason why her mama nicknamed her the Benevolent Dictator. I’m not so sure about the first bit though…

Something quite eventful happened last weekend at the second shebang. The berl was thrown (not by Milton Berle or Burl Ives) by one of Dr. A’s first year medical students. He’s an older student who was a helicopter pilot in the Army and is still a reservist. That’s one reason he lives at Jackson Barracks near Arabi, Louisiana. That’s right, it was an Arabi spring crawfish berl…

When I first heard our host’s name, I remarked that it was the same name as the man who sold us our house after renovating it in 2000. It’s a fairly common name so we agreed it was unlikely that her student was a Junior. Guess what? It’s a small fucking world after all. Our host’s father had indeed renovated Adrastos World HQ and Dr. A’s student had worked on the project. The latter was somewhat freaked out by the string of coincidences but I told him not to sweat it because it made him de facto teacher’s pet. Besides, the man knows how to boil crawfish. It’s an indispensable skill as far as I’m concerned.

This week’s theme song is the title track of Rodney Crowell’s 2003 album, Fate’s Right Hand. It seems that one of his daughters didn’t care for the song at the time. Somewhere in my archives I have a circa 2004 Crowell concert at which he introduced Fate’s Right Hand  more or less as follows:

“My daughter hates this song. She told me it’s undignified for me to talk about poontang and the narrator of the song having a pole in his pants. I told her that I’m a country singer and her mother and grandfather are both country singers. We’re not dignified people.  She reminded me that Grandpa Johnny was the most dignified person she knew. I couldn’t argue that point so I changed the subject.”

Fate’s Right Hand is a list song. The most famous list song I can think of is Irving Berlin’s You’re The Top. Another list song classic is REM’s It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine.) I don’t feel like listing list songs so here’s Fate’s Right Hand:

Rodney is fond of list songs. He wrote one about greedy yuppies for his 2005 album, The Outsider complete with the refrain: give it to me, give it to me. I will comply:

Give it to me, give it to me. You may not be as demanding as the coked-out greed head in the song but let’s take a break anyway. Give it to me, give it to me.

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Friday Catblogging: Sur La Table

This is one of the few tables our cats are allowed on. Della Street would sit there anyway.

 

I Wanna Rule The World

The Seventies English rock band 10cc were ahead of their time. For one thing, Lol Creme and Kevin Godley helped to develop the music video as an integral part of show business. For another, 10cc’s music and lyrics were quite visionary, especially I Wanna Rule The World. It imagines a wannabe dictator with the maturity and impulse control of a toddler. Sound familiar?

In the spirit of helpfulness for which I am known, I’d like to suggest I Wanna Rule The World as the official theme song for Team Trump’s foreign policy. If wars can have theme songs, why not a foreign policy of aggressive stupidity?

There are a helluva lot of lyrics, so we’ll begin with a Trump inspired video from last year. It’s chock-full-o-cartoons and other swell images.

Yeah, I know. They got the title slightly wrong. It’s okay by me: I paraphrased the lyrics in the Trump truck meme. So it goes.

I Wanna Rule The World is a very wordy song so, we’ll post the lyrics after the break.

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Happy Boo Republicans Week

It’s spring break time for Congress. That means that Senators and Congresscritters are back home ostensibly interacting with their constituents. In 2017, that makes this boo Republicans week. The trend started when Trumpcare was under consideration has continued: rowdy town halls packed to the rafters with jeering constituents.

According to Tiger Beat On The Potomac, those Republicans not ducking town halls have made some adjustments:

Republicans across the country appeared much more comfortable and better prepared to deal with noisy town hall crowds. Yoho didn’t fire back when he was overwhelmed by angry constituents and protesters. Rather, he’d get down on one knee and gaze directly at his questioner, absorbing any heckling until he could finish his answer. Others defused tension with jokes, waiting out hecklers or pivoting to safe talking points.

“Let’s do some more!” Coffman said when the moderator called for one last question, at an event that had already gone 45 minutes late. It was a stark contrast from a few months ago, when Coffman escaped out the back door of a town hall event that had been overrun by protesters.

Part of that newfound confidence is due to increased vetting of town hall attendees.

Coffman’s constituents, for instance, had to register and show their IDs at the door to prove they were actually constituents. Policemen also stood by and watched from the top of the auditorium. In one instance, they even escorted out a woman who make a ruckus about Coffman’s views on climate change.

Raising a ruckus is as American as apple pie. Members of Congress work for us, not vice versa, and if they can’t take the heat they should stay out of the kitchen. I’ll apologize for that string of clichés with this musical interlude:

Here in the Gret Stet of Louisiana, freshman GOP Senator John Neely Kennedy continues to duck town halls. I’m not sure what he’s so afraid of: he’s been known to handle hecklers reasonably well in the past. It’s what happens when you’re a political chameleon like Neely. He may be afraid that 2004 liberal Neely will make an appearance instead of the 2017 Trumper model.

Some folks in New Orleans held an empty chair town hall the other day:

The questions fell like hail on the impassive white face of a cardboard cutout meant to represent Sen. John Neely Kennedy, who was not present for a “citizen’s town hall” hosted April 19 at First Unitarian Universalist Church by the New Orleans and Metairie chapters of progressive organization Indivisible.

At the event, which was meant to spotlight a perceived lack of responsiveness from the Louisiana freshman senator’s office, speakers took the mic to pose inquiries to the mock Kennedy, who rested opaquely in a cardboard “office” reminiscent of Lucy’s psychiatric clinic in the “Charlie Brown” comics.

You say cardboard cut-out, I say empty chair. Let’s call the whole thing off.

This event was a follow-up to the Milk Carton Kennedy protests in March. This image of the missing Solon was all over the internet back then:

Just remember, the next chance you get to boo a Republican member of Congress, go for it. And if you happen to see Joe Wilson, greet him with a hearty, “YOU LIE.”

One more thing. I am proud of those Democrats who pitched in to help Jon Ossoff in the recent primary election. That was once Newt Gingrich’s seat, so Ossoff’s first place finish was a moral victory. And he still has a chance to win the seat as long as he and his supporters will heed Curtis Mayfield’s admonition and keep on keeping on:

Vive les Maquis.

Quote Of The Day: Lost Armada Edition

Every time I think Team Trump cannot be more inept, they top themselves. The Insult Comedian seems to think making national security policy is like playing Battleship or Risk. His approach is certainly risky business. Uh oh, if he sees that he might call on Tom Cruise for help. He does play action heroes nowadays. Does Trump prefer Jack Reacher or Ethan Hunt? I know he’s over the artist formerly known as the Governator.

It’s quote time. It comes from a Guardian column by Richard Wolffe:

Less than 100 days into this presidency, it is blissfully clear what kind of leader Trump is. He has made the awesome transition from a neophyte candidate into a neophyte president; from a man who bluffed and blustered his way in TV debates to a man who bluffs and blusters his way through international crises.

Here is a small-time businessman who knew nothing about foreign affairs, who has grown into a nuclear-armed president who knows nothing about foreign affairs. He used to fire B-list celebrities on TV; now he just fires off tweets and Tomahawks after watching TV.

To put it mildly, it is troubling for any White House – at a time of high tensions with a rogue nuclear state – to act as dumb or duplicitous as Donald Trump. Machiavelli argued that it is better to be feared than loved. It’s also better to look like something other than a fool.

Hey, he used a fancy word with historical connotations: Armada. Of course, it evokes the disaster of the Spanish Armada, which is not the happiest analogy to make.

Since Trump is an avid teevee watcher, he really should watch the video below about the defeat of the Spanish Armada. It uses stop-animation of various foods to depict the event so it’s not too complicated for him to understand:

Day-O. That video gives a whole new meaning to the Banana Boat Song. Day-O.

I hope the president* learns something from this video. My only worry is that it might inspire him to bomb a banana plantation. We must avoid war with Chiquita at all costs.

Don’t Let The Door Hit You…

billo_falafel

To the extent that my .000002 cents worth could be piling on…sure, why the hell not? O’Reilly really is a cynical sack of shit, both in public and apparently in private as well, so a kick or two on his way out the door is the least he deserves…

Of course, this is also a convenient way for Faux Noise to drop an aging and over-the-hill voice anyway (not to mention that Bill’s slightly less sycophantic than other Faux, um, talent? — see Hannity, Sean — when it comes to Maximum Leader Trump)…so this is as good a time as any for his graying head to roll. And it’s not like there won’t be, I don’t know, the usual: books, interviews (will be interesting to see how he handles hostile questions…assuming he gets any)…between that and whatever money doesn’t get doled out in various settlements…the only punishment, which I guess is better than nothing at all, is the knowledge that Faux cut bait/axed him.

And handed his slot to Tucker Carlson. Laff: axed a dick, replaced him with a weenie. Hope that burns at a little.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Crime On My Hands

I’m not sure if Carl G. Hoges spun a “sensational suspense story” but the cover art and tagline are both swell.

The Americans Thread: Gabriel’s Parting Gift

The Committee on Human Rights was something of a letdown after the dizzying heights of last week’s episode, Crossbreed. I, for one, wanted to see more of Paige and Gabriel together. The end of the previous episode led us to believe that there would be more to it than a brief, pleasant, and somewhat cryptic scene. Of course, Gabriel specializes in cryptic pleasantries.

The smile on Frank Langella’s face when he answered Paige’s inquiry as to whether he was a spy made this disappointing scene worthwhile. I wish Gabriel and Paige had burst out in song at the end of it. This would have been my choice:

Hmm, Peggy Lee was very blonde. I wonder if she was KGB? We’ll get to the same questions about Walk Away Renee later in the post.

The Committee on Human Rights is smack dab in the middle of season 5 so we shouldn’t be surprised that it set the table for the rest of the season. Besides, even a fair-to-middling episode of The Americans is better than most dramas. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: patience is the watchword for longtime Americans viewers.

Time for our spoiler break. Try not to cry over spilt Soviet milk as you click below.

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The March Of Autocracy

Although the result was closer than expected, Turkish voters gave President Erdogan the expanded powers that he sought. The office of Prime Minister that he once held has been abolished putting  all executive power in the hands of the President. Does Erdogan care that it was a squeaker? Hell no. He’s been consolidating power in his hands for years. If 51% was good enough for Brexit, it’s good enough for autocracy. Turkey has been slip sliding away towards autocracy for years and the botched coup was an accelerant. Erdogan is both smart and lucky.

I suspect you’ve heard that Trumpy was one of the first leaders to praise this Turkey of a referendum. I wonder if he got any off-the-record tips on Autocracy 101 from Erdogan. I’m certain that the Insult Comedian tipped his fez to neo-Sultan Erdogan. Since he’s unlikely to have heard of the Ottoman Empire, at least Trump won’t make any bad footstool jokes. Like that one.

It’s no shocker that Trump is happy for his Turkish counterpart. He’d like to be an elected dictator too. The good news is that he’s neither smart nor patient enough to become an American Caesar: the Turkish process has taken 13 years. But Trumpy has deeply authoritarian instincts as you can see from this tweet:

That’s classic autocrat speak: “the people love me. They have to pay protesters.” I halfway expect him to start tweeting: SOROS. SOROS. SOROS. It’s bound to happen at some point. He will, of course, use exclamation points. I am an EP refusenik.

The Turkish situation is more worrisome than the rise of autocracy in Hungary, Poland, and Serbia. They’ve had a functioning democracy for years whereas the aforementioned countries were under-as they said during the Cold War-the “Soviet yolk.” I’m not sure how they like their eggs but Erdogan just had his way with the voters so “over easy”may be it. I’m not eggsactly sure…

Back to this post’s portentous title. I’m not one of those people who believes in destiny. In the immortal words of Omar Sharif as Sherif Ali in Lawrence of Arabia:

Autocracy has made strides in the last few years but its success is NOT inevitable. Many thought the fall of the Soviet Union made the world eternally safe for democracy. Repeat after me: Nothing is written.

I remain cautiously optimistic that Marine LePen will not be elected French President. Hell, that race is so wackadoodle, that there’s an outside chance she’ll miss the run-off. If you haven’t been following that race, get thee to the Guardian. It’s such a clusterfuck that the Right wishes they could dig up Charles DeGaulle and the Left would gladly run Zombie Mitterrand instead of being as woefully divided as they are right now.

We have a president* who admires dictators and wishes he could be one. But he lacks the smarts and patience to pull it of. He will clearly leave behind an unholy mess for his successor to clean up. Hopefully, his exit will come sooner and not later but we need to be patient. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Resist Smart.

I’ll give Paul & Artie the last word:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Magical Connection

My old friend Gus Mozart posted this Gabor Szabo cover on Zuckerbook the other day. I’d never seen it before but I liked the image immediately. And who among us does not like saying the name Gabor Szabo? He was a damn fine jazz guitarist in the tradition of  Django Reinhart.

And that’s how I made this Magical Connection:

This version of the back cover is unexceptional as well as broom-free. My friend Gus informs me that it’s from a CD reissue. So it goes.

It’s time for a few musical selections including the title track and Bacharach and David’s Close To You:

 

Richard Cohen Finds a Nut

HAHAHA THIS IS ALL SO FUNNY RICHARD COHEN: 

In the past week or so, Donald Trump has decided not to be totally Donald Trump. He has changed his positions on many issues, often by simply contradicting himself and sometimes by repudiating what he once said. However he does it, it comes down to this: If policies were gender identities, Trump wouldn’t know which bathroom to use.

Okay, that makes TOTAL sense, except that transgender people generally do not describe themselves as having made the choice to be trans, whereas Trump has told us at least 49 times that he chose to be an anus.

And … is there not another analogy you’d reach for? In times like these? In the first place, I doubt Trump takes as much time studying policy as anyone takes finding the shitter of their choice. In the second place, just shut up, Richard Cohen, you’re not tall enough to be on this ride.

The column gets dumber.

His foreign policy 180s are welcome, but those were not what won the hearts of his ardent supporters. They wanted something more — jobs, affordable health care and a general sense that Washington would once again be their capital.

I can’t imagine what convinced them Washington WASN’T their capital the past 8 years. Can’t imagine it at all.

During the campaign, he lambasted both Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton for their relationship with the bank. “I know the guys at Goldman Sachs,” Trump said. “They have total, total control over [Cruz]. Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton.” Now, though, the total controllers are prominent in the administration — Steven Mnuchin at Treasury and, in the White House itself, Dina Powell, the aforementioned Cohn and even the odd-man-out, Stephen K. Bannon.

This reversal by personnel was not triggered by unforeseen events — Syria’s use of a nerve agent, for instance. It is, instead, a strong indication that Trump’s campaign was a lie. His wooing of the American working class was insincere.

If only someone had warned you about 27 bajillion times, including on national television in some grand fashion. Like with a speech, before a political convention. Then you’d be spared this astonishment.

“Strong indicator.” What was your first clue you weren’t in Kansas anymore, Dorothy? The munchkins or the Technicolor?

Maybe if someone had spent less time before the election looking at that wicked, wicked female and yelling BUT HER E-MAILS AND THE FLU we could have figured out that Trump was a train wreck from day one.

A.

MOAB DICK

Call me Ishmael. Call me anything; just don’t call me late when supper’s ready.

Last week’s astonishing series of Trump administration* foreign policy u-turns and flip flops convinced some in the MSM that the long-awaited PIVOT had come. The Insult Comedian actually got some positive press as the media drooled over the “beautiful” missiles that struck Syria. Lyin’ Brian actually out malaproped Gum Spice on that one. Instead of gushing over Trumpian manliness, the MSM should be worried about the erratic course this incompetent and incoherent administration* is steering. 

While many in the MSM became tumescent over Donald’s dick waving, those of us who do satire searched (groped?) for the right analogy. As you can see above, Dr. Strangelove references are popular with the madcap zanies at Wonkette. They got there first so that’s Slim Pickens for me. That’s when a military acronym exploded in my head: MOAB.

MOAB is, of course, military speak for the mother of all bombs. They’ve been around for a while but neither Bush nor Obama wanted to drop the very big one. The Donald is made of stupider stuff: how could he resist dropping the biggest non-nuclear bomb in history? It’s like being Dirk Diggler for a day. y’all. It *almost* made us forget his teeny, tiny hands. Almost.

MOAB was tailor-made for Trump. He’s just another boomer chicken hawk whose manhood is linked in his own mind with weaponry. Bombs are glimmering phalluses hence MOAB Dick. I have the feeling that the Insult Comedian never finished Moby Dick, so he might want to pick up one of these nifty comix. Cliff’s Notes are so un-presidential.

It’s from 1942, so it’s older and rarer than Trump-hab. His white whale was the White House, which has become such an Albatross that he spends every weekend at Mar-A-Lugee. We’re also treated to endless stories of the struggle between Bannon and young Jared as they vie to be Ishmael to Trump’s Ahab. The Melville character was the sole survivor of the Pequod and narrated Moby Dick. My money is on Jared. He married the boss’ daughter and gave the president* grandchirren. All Bannon gave him was the White House. Jared is blood. Blood trumps everything in Trump World: “Call me Jared. I survived.” He *is* a two-legged cockroach, after all.

Back to the dangerous situation caused by Trump’s face off with pipsqueak North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. They’re actually peas in a very crazy pod. Both will do *anything* for attention, which is why the Obama administration’s policy of’ “strategic patience” was a wise one. When a toddler pitches a tantrum at the dinner table, one can either ignore them or go the time-out route. Never give them what they want: attention and approval. That’s what the world needs to do with both of these baby men: put them in time-out.

Our Asian allies are noticeably unenthusiastic about toddler tantrum as policy:

Those in the US&A who would like a manly “preemptive strike” on North Korea forget the fact that it’s the Republic of Korea that will suffer the consequences. It’s a friendly nation, and has become a democracy during my lifetime. South Korea is going through a painful political scandal and has no appetite for Trumper dick waving. I wonder if he even knows about the impeachment and indictment of former President Park Guen-hye

The Darnold is a profoundly, indeed militantly, ignorant man. He was convinced until recently that China could order North Korea to knock it off.  Wrong.The Kim family dynasty have long been China’s crazy communist cousin. The PRC has influence but Kim Jong-un and his generals run the show in Pyongyang. I’m waiting for another overgrown toddler, Dennis Rodman, to revive wormplomacy and offer to serve as an intermediary.  The Insult Comedian might take him up on it: Rodman appeared on Celebrity Apprentice twice. I hear the ratings were better than on Arnold’s watch. Believe me.

Another thing strikes me about Trump’s new role as MOAB Dick to the world. He’s facing off with two family dynasties in Syria and North Korea. Perhaps that’s why he thinks he can solve these problems: he learned about dynastic power at Fred Trump’s dinner table. The Assads and the Kims, however, put the nasty in dynasty. They’re not going anywhere even though we all wish they would. It’s much harder than dealing with other developers, gangsters, Ed Koch, and Gary Busey. Believe me.

Team Trump’s effort in wagging the dog and distracting attention from their scandals has been surprisingly effective. It’s the only thing they’ve gotten right thus far, but the act isn’t going over very well in Seoul and Tokyo. It’s time for them to put the MOAB Dick back in their pants and zip it about North Korea. Twitplomacy won’t work any better than wormplomacy despite Rodman’s tremendous tattoos. Believe me.

I didn’t plan to write such a long post. I guess the Melville geist has taken hold. It’s time to meet Bartleby the Scrivener for coffee. I hope he doesn’t consider me the Melvillain of the piece…